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Surf City Lifeguarding Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a Surf City Lifeguard:

What is the hiring process to become a Surf City lifeguard?
You must fill out a pre-employment application that you may pick up at the Borough or download here and take the lifeguard test.  Click here to download an application for lifeguarding.  The application is in Adobe pdf format.

What does the pre-season lifeguard test consist of?
The lifeguard test consists of a timed swim, a dive test (see next paragraph), and an interview.   The swim test is 500m in the bay that must be completed in 10 minutes or less. 
If this is your first time trying out you may swim in the pool but you will be expected to pass the open water test before you sit a stand.  For your reference, 500m is approximately 550 yards, which is 11 laps, or 22 lengths of a standard 25 yard swimming pool.  Keep in mind that if you are practicing the distance in a pool the swim is a more challenging in open water because you must deal with wind, waves, lack of wall push off, and navigation.  Jobs will be assigned based on swim times and stroke efficiency, past experience and certifications, and the interview.  Applicants that do not pass the swim test will not continue through the rest of the employment testing.

There will also be victim recovery test, which will be scheduled after the swim test at a pool where each applicant will don a mask and snorkel and bring up a weight from the deep end of the pool and swim it to the pool edge.  You will also be expected to be able to clear the snorkel.  Bring your own mask and snorkel if you have them.  If you don't own a mask and snorkel don't worry, we'll have them at the test.

What is the pay?

2022 Surf City Lifeguard Pay Scale

Experience 2022 Hourly
1st Year $585.00 $15.00
2nd Year $604.50 $15.50
3rd Year $624.00 $16.00
4th Year $643.50 $16.50
5th Year $663.00 $17.00
6th Year $682.50 $17.50
7th Year $682.50 $17.50
8th Year $702.00 $18.00
9th Year $721.50 $18.50
10th Year+ $741.00 $19.00

What if I can't attend the first swim test?
Make-up tests are available.  Please contact me at

What will you be looking at during the swim test besides the time?
Of course the most important part of the swim test is the time.  That being said, it is very important to be able to swim with your head in the water (an efficient freestyle stroke) and to swim straight.  Learn to coordinate your breathing and swimming and to keep your feet from sinking while swimming.

Tell me more about the swim test?
You may bring goggles to the swim test and I suggest that you do.  Besides being in good swimming shape you should be able to swim straight to a mark in open water.  The entire swim test must be completed using the freestyle or crawl stroke and no stopping is permitted.

How difficult is it to make the swimming time?
Unless you are or were recently on a swim team you will probably need to refine your stroke and get in swimming shape to make the swim time.

What should I do to prepare for the swim test?
Again, this depends on your swimming skill and fitness level but I would suggest 20-30 minutes of swimming three times a week for about four weeks before the test.   You should be in good enough shape to swim at a relatively hard pace for 10 minutes or 550 yards (22 pool lengths in a 25 yard pool) so you know that you can pass the USLA swim test.  I would spend some time at a pool.  3-4 times a week, swimming a total of 1000-1500 yards each time. A good workout would be 100 yards(4 laps), 200yds(8 laps), 300 yds(12laps), 400yds(16laps), 8x50 sprints, and a cool down of 50 yard (2 laps). One lap is once across the pool. Across and back is two laps.

Do I need any certifications?
You will need to be certified in Advanced First Aid (minimum 17 hour course) and CPR with AED.  We will provide the training and certifcations.   Advanced lifesaving or lifeguard training is beneficial but not mandatory.

How old must I be to lifeguard in Surf City?
You must be at least sixteen years old to work as a lifeguard in Surf City.  If you are under eighteen years old you will have to get working papers before you begin work.

What is a good time to get?
A competitive college swimmer will generally complete the test in under 6 minutes.  The majority of the squad does it in 7 to 9 minutes. 

What do I need to bring to the lifeguard test?
Swim trunks, goggles, a towel, and worm clothes to change into after the test.  Otherwise we'll have them for you.  Sometimes it’s cold on the day of the test.

Will the test be held if it looks like it is going to rain?
If there isn't any chance of lightning and it's not raining hard we'll probably still swim.  Otherwise check the website for an alternate date, which will be scheduled.

When and where is the lifeguard test?
We will be meeting for the swim test at the end of 5th street (by the bay) in Surf City.

Can you give me some tips for the lifeguard test?
Sure, make sure you can swim straight in open water and that you can swim freestyle the entire 550 yards without stopping.   You should practice sighting every 2 or 3 strokes depending on how straight you swim.

Does the Borough of Surf City have housing for Lifeguards?
No.  At this point in time the Borough does not offer housing for lifeguards.

How many days a week will I be working and what are the hours?
You will be working up to six days a week from 9:45 to 5:00. 

Does Surf City hire part-time lifeguards?
Surf City does hire part-time lifeguards.

Will I have to pay for the uniform?
The Borough will supply you with a uniform. 

What is included in the uniform I will receive?
You will receive two pairs of shorts, t-shirt, long sleeve t, sweat top, sweat bottom, hat, whistle, and a jacket.  All first year lifeguards receive jackets. 


Surf City Beach Patrol, 813 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008
 Surf City Borough Hall (609) 494-3064