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Wednesday 1 March 2017 Careers and Jobs

At the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) we’re offering you the chance to take time out from your studies and spend your summer at the beach.  You’ll gain skills for life, help people and work with a fantastic team. You’ll earn a good hourly rate. And you’ll be saving lives every day. Ideally, you’ll have a valid ILS-recognised beach lifeguard qualification, although we can provide training in some areas. John Newman joined the RNLI as a beach lifeguard last year; here he shares his experience of working for the RNLI last summer - and the adventures that came next.

This time last year, I was working at a restaurant in Edinburgh and wondering what to do to bring a bit of excitement into my summer. I’m now looking back at an unforgettable summer and am packing for another season of lifeguarding in New Zealand. 

I applied to be a lifeguard at Coldingham beach after hearing the RNLI was recruiting, from the manager of a local surf shop. I’d already been a lifeguard on a private beach, but moving over to the RNLI made me feel more confident and sure of my equipment and abilities. We had a couple of major first aid incidents during the summer and the RNLI’s casualty care training kicked into gear immediately. It was also really good spending time speaking with people about hazards and helping to prevent them from getting into trouble. So many people are just unaware of how dangerous the sea can be, even on a calm day.

But it’s more than just a job – we really bonded as a group. You find yourself working with like-minded people. Some of us surfed and it was a great place to get out running on the trail first thing in the mornings. Most of us are planning on heading back for the season this year but, right now, I’m looking at my half-packed suitcase and getting ready for the trip of a lifetime. I'm heading to Cambodia and Australia – and my final destination is New Zealand, where I'll be working on a surf beach with another RNLI lifeguard. If you told me this last year, when I was serving tables, I’d have never believed you. RNLI lifeguarding has opened up so many possibilities.

The first day I spent on the beach, I knew this job was something pretty special. And I still can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

If you’re passionate about the beach and lifeguarding, visit to hear from more RNLI lifeguards and find out how to apply.

‘The first day I spent on the beach, I knew this job was something pretty special’