Weirdest Things Lifeguards Have Seen on the Job

Lifeguards have to be keen observers—here are some of the most unusual things these lifesavers have seen on the job.

If Mom was there, this wouldn’t have happened…

Father and son playing in the oceanmayakova/Shutterstock

“One time, a dad kept tossing his toddler in the air—I mean really high,”  Lauren Crain, a PR professional, tells Reader’s Digest about her teenage lifeguarding job. “I kept asking him to stop, but he didn’t listen. Finally, he tossed the kid so high, the kid was able to grab onto a flag-rope strung high above the pool.” The kid was dangling there, while the dad (and everyone else in the pool) laughed. Eventually, the kid let go, and the dad caught him.

Take a stand

Sign showing 5 ft depth on edge of blue swimming pool with no divingSteve Heap/Shutterstock

“A man in his late 20s was struggling and flailing in the middle of a pool,” former lifeguard Robert Herbstat tells Reader’s Digest. “The thing was, he was in only five feet of water, so I yelled at him to stand up, which he did, sheepishly, in neck-deep water.” These are the water-safety tips adults don’t follow, but should.

“But we don’t wanna be saved”

adults legs underwater in the swimming poolKateryna Mostova/Shutterstock

Another time when Herbst was lifeguarding at an ocean beach, he watched a woman jump on top of a man. It looked like a classic case of a drowning person trying to climb on top of another person to save herself. To save them both (because this scenario often results in both people drowning, Herbst rushed out to where the people were and tried to pry them apart only to discover they were fine—and engaged in deliberate, intimate activity.


The unexpected power of a fib

Blue-blue paint, purple blue and blue, colored smoke on blue background, pigment mixing effect under blue waterling jiaqian/Shutterstock

“One summer I worked on the waterfront staff at a pre-school day camp,” Kaitlin Stewart recalls for Reader’s Digest. “I told the kids they shouldn’t pee-pee in the pool and that I’d put a special dye in the water which would turn the water blue if anyone did. That part was a fib, but next thing I knew, one of the kids started crying hysterically, saying she’d just gone pee-pee.” Terrified the water was going to turn blue, the girl told on herself.


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