Q: As a lifeguard, did you face any specific difficulties as a woman in the field?
A: No, I did not really have anything that I would consider gender specific. There are often times people on the beach that are unpleasant, a little bit difficult or challenging, non-compliant, or don’t want to listen to you. I have started lifeguarding at a much older age. I was 3x the age of the kids that were starting when they were 16. Now I’m about 4x their age. I think because I was so much older, I had a little bit more experience in dealing with people, then it was probably a little bit easier for me. Sometimes it takes some of the younger guards, whether they’re male or female, a bit of confidence. Lifeguarding definitely builds confidence. You are in charge of all of these people and are responsible for their safety. If you can’t handle something, you take it to your supervisor. I don’t feel like, as a woman, I’ve ever been discriminated against. I’ve never been told, “You can’t do this! You can’t do that!” I think the ladies that work with us now are some of the best lifeguards we have. Everybody’s strengths are different. Some people are better swimmers and some people are better runners. At the end of the day, we all go out and lifeguard in teams. We don’t go in by ourselves. The runner gets there before the faster swimmer but the faster swimmer is going to be more helpful in getting the person into shore. They are really strong and can get people out of the beach. It all kind of works together.