Why Do Lifeguards Tell You To Get Out Of The Water?

Why Do Lifeguards Tell You To Get Out Of The Water

Lifeguards play an essential role in making sure the environment is safe for swimmers in pools, beaches, lakes, and waterparks. Sometimes, lifeguards will tell you to get out of the water for various reasons to ensure the safety of all swimmers. The weather can become unsafe, the water itself could be unsuitable for swimming, or your behavior in the water could have you ejected. Keep reading to learn why a lifeguard might require someone to get out of the water.


One of the main reasons a lifeguard will tell you to get out of the water is because there is unsafe weather, most commonly lightning, heavy rain, cold temperatures, or strong winds. It is very dangerous to swim when there is a thunderstorm because lightning often strikes water, and water conducts electricity. The currents from a lightning strike could seriously injure or even kill you. 

Heavy rain can be unsafe because it can obstruct the lifeguard's view; if the lifeguard cannot see the bottom of the pool, it is seen as unsafe to swim in. Generally, in open water, the water is closed when it is raining. The same typically goes for strong winds. Another reason lifeguards might tell you to get out of the water is because the water is too cold to swim in. Depending on where you are and who you ask, the number might change, but water under 77º has risks associated with swimming in it.

Water Quality

Lifeguards might tell you to get out of the water because the water quality is unsafe to swim in. Lifeguards test the chlorine, pH, calcium hardness, total alkalinity, and cyanuric acid levels in pools. If the pH level is between 7 and 8, the water is safe to swim in. If the pH is above 8, swimmers are at risk of a skin rash, and a pH level lower than 7 can sting swimmers’ eyes. 

Another reason a lifeguard could clear the pool is if they detect feces or vomit in the water. The germs could cause recreational water illness if the water is swallowed. The lifeguards must clear the water and then clean the excretion and disinfect the water, typically by raising the free chlorine concentration for 30 minutes, during which the pool stays closed. In open water, lifeguards determine if the water is safe by testing for E. coli. Once they determine if the risk of waterborne illness is present or not, they decide whether the water is open to swim in.


A lifeguard might tell you to get out of the pool as well if you are consistently breaking their safety rules. The rules depend on the facility, but there are common rules to follow at most pools. For example, do not bring glass in or even near the pool; most lifeguards will tell you to leave if you have anything made of glass and easily breakable.

Similarly, if you have an electrical device, you will be asked to get out of the water. A lifeguard might also tell you to get out of the water if they suspect an injury to you or someone else in the pool, or if they suspect an injury might occur due to the behavior you are exhibiting. This all depends on the pool facility and the lifeguard’s training.