RNLI Lifeguard Georgia Laing
Georgia knows what her dream job is – she's working hard towards becoming a senior lifeguard after just two seasons on Portsmouth and Littlehampton beaches on the south coast of England. She loves socialising, sports and ensuring a professional lifeguard service so people can enjoy the beach safely.
It’s great to know that you're keeping people safe.
Can you describe a typical day’s work as a lifeguard?
Firstly, we set up the supervised swimming zone and ensure that all equipment is ready, such as rescue boards and the inshore rescue boat. Once that is done, we watch over everyone on the beach and answer any safety questions they have. For example, if there are swimmers between the red and yellow flags, we go and stand on the shoreline to make sure they're watched over. We give safety in the water advice or carry out first aid if needed.
What motivates you to do what you do?
It’s a nice job because you get to help others. For me, it’s great to know that you're keeping people safe because many visitors don't understand the sea, tides, and currents. As lifeguards, we’re there so people can enjoy the beach without worrying about their safety. I also get to socialise and speak with different people, which I enjoy.
What are you most excited/passionate about?
It’s my dream job to work on the beach. I love being outdoors, especially in the summer, my favourite season. So, this is the best job because I get to sit outside when we have nice weather. Then, in the winter, I get to do a lot of skiing and snowboarding.
What are the goals you’re aiming for in your work?
I'd love to get to a point where I've worked enough seasons to be very comfortable with the job, so I can help new lifeguards. I think that would be fun. Next year I want to be part of the leadership programme.
What led you to this job?
I used to be a pool lifeguard at a leisure centre. But it wasn't what I expected, as I wanted to gain more experience in the rescue part of lifeguarding. So, as we came out of lockdown, I signed on to a beach lifeguard course, and later that year I got a job at Southsea Beach in Portsmouth.
What attracted you to work for the RNLI?
It's a recognised charity. I would see the RNLI lifeguards on all the beaches I used to go to, and I've always wanted to be one. I go down to Cornwall quite a lot, and I see first-hand how many rescues the RNLI lifeguards do and how many times they help people daily, especially during the busy summer season. So I believe lifeguarding is a really good job to do.
Can you tell us about a memorable incident or rescue?
Last year, we had a casualty struggling with her mental health. It was quite a frightening situation because we usually deal with physical injuries, so I was quite worried about what to say. We talked for about 2 hours and she was okay in the end. We took her off in an ambulance, and she got the help she needed.
The experience made me more confident when dealing with mental health issues. This year we've had a lot of training on dealing with people struggling with their mental health, so I’m more confident talking to people about it.
What are the skills you must have to be a lifeguard?
I think the confidence to talk to the public is big because it helps us prevent accidents before they happen. But you have also got to have some physical fitness and knowledge about the beach you work on. Plus, being a good swimmer and paddleboarder helps you carry out rescues efficiently.
What are you looking forward to?
Working on the beach for the whole season, five days a week. We've become close as a team because we're working together every day. I'm also excited to get to know some of the new lifeguards that I haven't met yet. Mainly I’m excited to spend the summer on the beach helping people. It's nice to have fun too.
Looking for your next great opportunity? Find out more about becoming a lifeguard.