December 12, 2019

Essential Lifeguard Equipment All Commercial Pools Should Have on Deck

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Unless you own a commercial indoor pool you’re focused on running, you’re probably already making plans for next pool-season. Does your commercial pool need resurfacing? A new liner? A fresh aquatic coating? These renovations are all great for pool maintenance, but you mustn’t ignore outside pool equipment that is essential for swimmers’ safety. During the off-season, ensure you have all the essential lifeguard equipment on deck.

Lifeguard equipment plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of commercial pools and swimmers. It includes a range of rescue tools such as rescue tubes, lifebuoys, backboards, and shepherd’s crooks. Additionally, lifeguards should have access to medical supplies like first aid kits, emergency oxygen, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also essential for lifeguards to ensure their own safety while performing rescues.

Key Takeaways

  • Lifeguard equipment is essential for maintaining safety in commercial pools.
  • Rescue tools such as rescue tubes, lifebuoys, backboards, and shepherd’s crooks are key components of lifeguard equipment.
  • Medical supplies like first aid kits, emergency oxygen, and AEDs are crucial for responding to emergencies.
  • Lifeguards should prioritize their own safety by using personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • By having the right lifeguard equipment, commercial pool owners can create a safe environment for swimmers.

Rescue Equipment: Saving Lives in the Water

Lifeguards rely on a variety of rescue equipment to perform life-saving interventions in the water. These essential tools help them respond quickly and effectively to emergencies, ensuring the safety of swimmers. The rescue tube is a buoyant flotation device that provides support and transportation for individuals in distress. It allows lifeguards to reach swimmers quickly and offer much-needed assistance. The rescue tube is a staple in any lifeguard’s equipment arsenal and plays a critical role in water rescues.

Another essential rescue equipment is the lifebuoy, also known as a ring buoy. This device provides flotation and serves as a means to pull swimmers to safety. Lifeguards can toss the lifebuoy to a struggling individual and then assist in pulling them back to the pool deck or shoreline. The lifebuoy is particularly useful in situations where the swimmer is unable to reach the side of the pool or the shore on their own.

Backboards are another vital tool in a lifeguard’s rescue equipment. They are used to immobilize victims with head, neck, or spine injuries, ensuring that no further harm is done during the rescue and transport process. Backboards provide the necessary support and stability to minimize movement and potential complications. Lifeguards are trained to carefully secure the injured individual to the backboard for safe extraction from the water.

Shepherd’s Crooks for Safe Retrieval

For scenarios where swimmers are in deeper water or beyond the lifeguard’s immediate reach, shepherd’s crooks come into play. These long poles with a hook at the end allow lifeguards to extend their reach and retrieve struggling swimmers from a safe distance. Shepherd’s crooks provide an additional level of reach and control, enabling lifeguards to assist swimmers without putting themselves at risk. They are particularly useful in larger pools or bodies of water where the lifeguard cannot physically reach the individual in distress.

By having access to rescue equipment such as rescue tubes, lifebuoys, backboards, and shepherd’s crooks, lifeguards are equipped to handle various emergency situations in the water. These tools provide the necessary support, flotation, immobilization, and reach to ensure the safety and well-being of swimmers. The lifeguard’s ability to quickly assess the situation and utilize the appropriate rescue equipment can make a significant difference in saving lives.

Rescue Equipment


Rescue Tube

A buoyant flotation device that supports and transports swimmers in distress.


A ring buoy that provides flotation and a means of pulling swimmers to safety.


Used to immobilize victims with head, neck, or spine injuries during rescues.

Shepherd’s Crook

A long pole with a hook at the end for safely reaching and retrieving struggling swimmers.

Medical Supplies: Responding to Emergencies

Lifeguards play a vital role in responding to emergencies in commercial pools, and having the appropriate medical supplies is crucial for their effectiveness. Properly stocked first aid kits are essential and should include items such as bandages, sterile dressings, disposable gloves, and antiseptic ointment. These supplies enable lifeguards to provide immediate care to injured swimmers and address minor wounds to prevent infections.

In more severe cases, lifeguards may need to administer emergency oxygen to swimmers experiencing difficulty breathing. This can be a life-saving intervention that helps stabilize the swimmer’s condition until additional medical help arrives. Lifeguards are trained to assess the situation and deliver oxygen as needed, ensuring the best possible outcome for the swimmer.

Another essential piece of medical equipment is the automated external defibrillator (AED). AEDs are used in cases of sudden cardiac arrest, which can occur unexpectedly in both young and older swimmers. These devices analyze the heart’s rhythm and deliver an electric shock if necessary, potentially restoring a normal heartbeat. Lifeguards should be trained in the proper use of AEDs and have immediate access to them to increase the chances of survival in critical situations.

Prioritizing Lifeguard Safety

While lifeguards are focused on saving lives, their safety is also paramount. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical for lifeguards to ensure their well-being while providing assistance. PPE may include items such as gloves, goggles, face masks, and rescue tubes with straps to secure themselves and the swimmer during rescues.

Regular inspections of all lifeguard equipment and supplies are necessary to ensure they are in good working order and readily available in case of emergencies. Pool operators and managers should establish protocols for equipment maintenance, restocking, and replacing items as needed. By prioritizing the safety and preparedness of lifeguards, commercial pool owners can create a secure environment for both the swimmers and the dedicated professionals who protect them.


The safety of commercial pools and swimmers is of utmost importance, and having the right lifeguard equipment is essential for achieving this goal. By implementing pool safety protocols and providing comprehensive lifeguard training, pool owners can ensure a secure environment for everyone.

Equipping lifeguards with the necessary tools, such as rescue tubes, lifebuoys, backboards, and shepherd’s crooks, enables them to perform life-saving interventions effectively. Additionally, having access to medical supplies like first aid kits, emergency oxygen, and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) equips lifeguards to respond swiftly to emergencies.

To ensure that all essential equipment is present and in good working order, it is recommended to implement a lifeguard equipment checklist. Regular maintenance and inspections should be conducted to guarantee that the equipment is ready for use whenever needed.

By prioritizing the safety of both swimmers and lifeguards, commercial pool owners can create a secure and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Regular training, adherence to pool safety protocols, and the use of proper lifeguard equipment are key factors in promoting commercial pool safety.

Although we’re best known for our aquaBRIGHT™ and polyFIBRO® commercial pool finishes, we’re also strong advocates for swimming pool safety. We believe quality safety equipment is the best solution to swimming emergencies, just like aquaBRIGHT and polyFIBRO are the best solution to inferior swimming pool coatings. Learn more about our products by contacting the ecoFINISH team.