Surf City Beach Patrol Lifeguard Test This Weekend

May 17, 2017

Lifeguards aren’t just a necessity in a beach resort community like Surf City but an investment. That’s why the Surf City Beach Patrol is holding tryouts and testing for both new applicants and returning guards this weekend at the St. Francis Community Center Pool.

New applicants will be tested at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 20 and returning guards at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 21. All applicants must swim 500 meters in less than 10 minutes to be eligible for employment. Only the freestyle stroke is permitted. Another eligibility requirement is being able to recover a submerged dive brick.

Beach Patrol Capt. Mark Dileo seeks to hire 12 new candidates to fill out the 34-person roster to guard the borough’s beaches this summer. Twenty-three guards are returning to their posts, giving him a good mix of experience and rookies. He’s looking for a blend of full-time and part-time guards to even out the summer schedule.

“Guards go on family vacations; they go to funerals,” he said. “Some even go to summer school. Others have internships but want to work on the weekends, and some have internships that end so they can only work at the end of the summer.”

The biggest challenges to recruiting and keeping candidates are college internships and affordable housing, especially for those who don’t live locally.

“Internships are starting earlier and earlier,” he said. “It used to be just between junior and senior year, or senior year and after, but now it’s earlier.”

While Dileo believes the Island is back to normal following the effects of Superstorm Sandy, he said affordable housing is a big issue when looking to hire out-of-the-area lifeguard candidates.

What doesn’t seem to be an issue is the competition with other beach patrols on the 18-mile Island, he said, acknowledging hiring a dozen or so guards is on the higher end of the scale but not unheard of during his 25-year tenure as beach patrol captain.

“I once hired 15 or 16 guards,” he said, adding, “In low years, with a lot of returning guards, that number is two, maybe three.”

The trick is having just the right mix of experienced and rookie guards he can pair on all the beaches.

“Sometimes new blood is a good thing,” he said. “It brings new energy.”

Still, he doesn’t want to pair two rookies on one beach, he added. Surf City beaches are guarded from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week from Saturday, June 17 through Labor Day.

“There’s definitely a certain type of person who is cut out to be a lifeguard,” he said. “You either want to be one or you don’t.”

He’s hoping to find that type of person this weekend during the tryouts and testing. All candidates should bring their completed pre-employment application and payroll paperwork with them for the tryouts and testing. If an applicant cannot make either test date, contact the lifeguard captain at For additional information, check out the Surf City Beach Patrol’s website,

— Gina G. Scala


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