What Things Make Lifeguards Angry?

What Things Make Lifeguards Angry

Anyone who swims has been at a public pool or on a beach and heard a lifeguard blow their whistle, indicating a swimmer needs to stop what they are doing. Most swimmers have even seen lifeguards raise their voices and get angry while on duty. When a lifeguard is angry, it’s important to pay attention, because they usually have a safety-related reason for their anger. Read on to learn about the main reasons a lifeguard might get angry.


Rough playing with your friends, also known as horseplay, will quickly cause a lifeguard to get a bit heated. Horseplay can include any type of pushing or shoving in the pool, holding a friend underwater, and more. Even if you are just having some “harmless” fun with friends, this kind of play can get out of control quickly, and accidents happen. An injury that wouldn’t be so serious on land can turn extremely dangerous in the water, where the risk of drowning is present.

Running Around the Pool

Another major cause of lifeguards blowing their whistles is running by the pool. With all the splashing going on inside a pool and kids getting in and out of the water, the surrounding land near the pool is almost always wet and slippery. Running around the pool is a huge safety hazard, and lifeguards will often get angry when they see this. The “lip” of the pool, or the uneven siding most pools have, makes head injuries after a fall all too likely. 


Ignoring Signage

Lifeguards also tend to get upset when swimmers ignore signage. If you are swimming in an open body of water, there may be signage directing you to stay within a certain area or buoys indicating you shouldn’t pass them. This is because these areas have been designated as safe to swim in. These signs are also in place because a lifeguard needs to be able to see you at all times to be able to save you if something goes wrong. 

Fake Drowning

In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are 4,000 drowning-related deaths a year, which equals approximately 11 per day. If you draw statistics on non-fatal drownings, those numbers double to 8,000 per year and 22 per day. In fact, drowning is the leading cause of death for American children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of death for American children 5-14. 

With statistics like these, it's unsurprising that one of the quickest ways to make a lifeguard angry is by fake drowning. It may be tempting to joke around with your friends while in the pool or the ocean, crying for help and flailing your arms, but lifeguards have to treat each apparent drowning as a serious threat. Faking a drowning causes lifeguards undue stress and distracts them from watching for actual threats. In a worst-case scenario, a swimmer faking drowning could pull the lifeguard away at a vital moment when someone truly needed their help.