EXPLAINED: Lifeguards in Texas


AUSTIN (KXAN) – What are the rules when it comes to lifeguards in Texas, and when did these guardians of the pool first pop up? With the new swimming ‘fad’ in the 1800’s, entrepreneurs began building resorts to attract people during the summer heat. As more people came to swim, more people drowned — 9,000 annually, by the early 1900’s.

Two things happened around 1910 that led to the lifeguards we know today. First, a famed Hawaiian surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, introduced the rescue board. This is the floating board you see lifeguards running into the water with during a rescue. Then, the YMCA started the National Lifesaving Service. This group was the first formal group to train swimmers in lifesaving and in resuscitation techniques.

By the 1980’s, lifesaving techniques became formalized. Whether at the beach, a waterpark, or at a pool, lifeguards are all given the same training to be certified.

So what are the rules in Texas?

Lifeguard rules are well-defined in Texas. They’re broken down into four categories:

Class A: pools used for competitive aquatic events.

Class B: pools used for public recreation.

Both of those require lifeguards.

Class C: pools at a private facility, such as a hotel, apartment complex or a club.

Those don’t require lifeguards, unless they have a slide or diving board.

Finally, Class D pools are wading pools, no more than 24 inches deep. No paid supervision is needed with these pools.

Now, these are just the state laws. Many counties and cities have additional safety rules.

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