(From left to right: Mackenzie Woods wears the Masie tank and Lulu Shorts , Lauren Ashby wears the Rella top and Lulu shorts, Lauren Matthews wears the Nazare jumpsuit, and Mia Carraba wears the Palomar rashguard and Lulu shorts)
What is your favorite aspect of being a lifeguard?
Mackenzie: Lifeguarding is the best job in the entire world - there's no way to choose just one favorite thing! Some of my favorite aspects of being a lifeguard are being able to help people and make sure everyone goes home to their family at the end of the day. There really isn't a better feeling than knowing you made a difference in someone's life. I love being able to share my love for the ocean and our beaches with others and to see little girls light up when they realize girls can be lifeguards too!
Mia: I love being able to help people in a time of need and make people feel taken care of. I also love getting to surf on break!
Lauren M. : Being in a community of people who deeply love and honor the strength and beauty of our oceans and want to protect it and the people in it. I have been able to be around such incredible people and have grown into who I am with this community. I have been fortunate enough to sail, surf, paddle, travel and save lives with some of my best friends. I do it for the people, for the love of the outdoors and for the stories and respect of the ocean I will carry on to my children someday.
Lauren A.: The beach is by far my favorite place to be, so being able to work there is the dream job. I also love meeting new people, educating the community and the adrenaline of a rescue and being ready in an unpredictable environment. The job is so rewarding and I’ve truly learned so much about myself through it and grown into who I am today because of it!
What is the most challenging part of the job?
Mackenzie: The most challenging aspect of being a lifeguard is people who are in danger and need help, but refuse your help. People are often embarrassed or resistant to us and think they are capable of more than they actually are. It makes it really challenging to enact rescues, perform medical aids, enforce rules and regulations, etc.
What are one or two misconceptions people have about being a female lifeguard?
Mackenzie: A misconception about being a female lifeguard Is that we aren't as strong or capable as our male coworkers. All lifeguards, regardless of if they are male or female, go through the same training and are subject to the same physical and instructional testing standards. Everything that the guys can do, the girls can do too!
Lauren A.: I don’t run into a lot of challenges, however there have been some instances that my gender has been an issue with the public. Sometimes men are hesitant to be rescued by a young female lifeguard so you really have to explain to them how important it is they use your help and listen to you to make sure you get out of what could or might be a bad situation quick and back to shore.
What are some misconceptions people might have about being a lifeguard, in general?
Mia: Many people think rescues are super rare, but actually the average times a lifeguard is out on a rescue on a busy summer day is around 20 times if not more. We also deal with many medical emergencies every day. Lifeguarding isn’t just hanging out in the sun all day, we work pretty hard!
(Mia wears the Palomar rashguard with the Lulu boardshort)
Mackenzie: Even while we are sitting in the tower, we are hyper-focused on every person that is on our sand and in our water for as far as we can see. Even if I didn't make a rescue that day, I will still go home exhausted from every shift because of the mental strain of accounting for every head that goes under a wave and every person that came to my beach that day. We have to predict what is going to happen so that we are proactive and intervene before something terrible happens so even though we may look calm on the outside, we are incredibly attentive and perceptive to everything happening around us.
Lauren M. : That our only priority is the ocean - although this is the main focus, I have had medical calls from bike accidents, car crashes, heart attacks in state park territory, dog fights, broken bones, arterial bleeds and more. We have a strong medical background and EMT/EMR care and 1st response medical care we respond to daily. This is one of the main reasons I chose to follow a path in nursing is because of the experiences I have been able to be a part of in the lifeguarding community.
(Lauren Ashby wears the Dara in Genoa)
What are ways that beach goers can make the beach a safer place for everyone and make your jobs easier?
Mackenzie: It's super challenging when parents assume that we are babysitters and they don't pay any attention to their children at the beach. We pull infants and toddlers off of the railroad tracks and out of the inshore hole more often than I can account for, and parents oftentimes are clueless to the fact that their child has been missing or aren't even concerned about the dangerous situation we just intercepted.
As lifeguards, our primary responsibility is to ensure that people stay safe and get to go home at the end of the night. Everything we do, whether it be making rescues, moving people away from dangerous situations, enforcing rules and regulations, etc. is done with this goal in mind. If beach goers would trust in that and respect and listen to what we tell them, our jobs would be way easier! We aren't here to ruin someone's day at the beach, we just want to protect them and protect our natural resources so everyone can recreate safely. It's our job to keep others safe and to know the rules and regulations of our beaches, questioning and resisting our help only makes our job harder.
(Lauren Matthews wears the Lido in Roma & Lauren Ashby wears the Nazare surfsuit in Roma)
Lauren A: Understand your limits and know the ocean can change in seconds before you realize so always stay in a place you are comfortable and know what you’re doing!
Mia: Don’t push your limits, ask a lifeguard where to swim/surf, and WEAR FINS
We send all our love and a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all lifeguards and first responders who work tirelessly so that we can enjoy the ocean safely!