The Junior Lifeguard program was established in 1964 to educate children to recognize potential hazardous conditions associated with an ever-changing aquatic environment. Emphasis is placed on safety, respect, physical fitness, instruction, and discipline. Students are schooled in the oceanic environment, First Aides, C.P.R., mutual cooperation, competition techniques, and lifesaving methods.
The initial class of 24 junior guard students has blossomed to an impressive average of 1,100 students per year. The Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguards is world renowned, having had students from other countries such as Germany, France, England, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico; and other states such as Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, New York, Utah and Florida. The program has been involved with 9 international educational exchanges with New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.
The programs is 8-weeks long starting in the last week of June and ending in mid- August. Qualified students are divided into three groups based on their age. These groups are A’s 14–17, white, pink or green caps, B’s 12–13, red caps, and C’s 9–11, yellow caps. Each of these groups are then regrouped based on ability, experience in the ocean and, in the case of the A’s, desired preference. Surf caps are assigned by color for easy identification when in the water.
The Captains Corp. and Safety Aides developed over time to become unique groups within the program. Captains Corp. (white caps) was developed for Junior Guards who have the drive to become Ocean Lifeguards or who wish to challenge themselves both physically and mentally. The Safety Aides (pink caps) assist the younger students in water activities. Acting as an extension of the instructors, the Safety Aides provide additional flotation and safety. This group has been recognized by other Junior Lifeguard agencies for their importance in maintaining the safety of their fellow Jr. Guards and has been utilized in regional and national championships.
To become a member, students must meet the following physical requirements:
• Be between 9 and 17 years old
• Students must be age 9 prior to July 1st of that year
• Swim 100 yards in 1:50 minutes or faster for age 9 – 13 years. Swim 1:45 minutes or faster for age 14 – 17 years.
• Swim underwater 10 yards without coming up for a breath
• Treading water for 5 minutes
Tryouts are held in May with registration in June.