Average Lifeguard Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Lifeguard Salary in South Africa is R14,239 per month. An entry-level Lifeguard earns a salary range of R8,660, a mid-career level Lifeguard earns a salary range of R19,600 and a senior/experienced level Lifeguard earns R23,500 per month.

Average Lifeguard Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Lifeguard 8,660
Mid-Career Lifeguard 19,600
Experienced Lifeguard 23,500

In South Africa, lifeguards play a critical role in ensuring the safety of swimmers and beachgoers along the country’s extensive coastline. There are various types of lifeguards, and their salaries can vary depending on their experience, qualifications, and the specific employer. It’s important to note that lifeguard salaries are subject to change over time and may vary by region. Here are some common types of lifeguards and their functions in South Africa:

Types of Lifeguards and their Functions and Salary in South Africa

1. Beach Lifeguards

Beach lifeguards are responsible for ensuring the safety of swimmers, surfers, and other beachgoers at coastal locations. They often work at popular tourist destinations and are trained to deal with various water-related emergencies, including rip currents and shark sightings.

2. Pool Lifeguards

Pool lifeguards work at swimming pools, water parks, and other aquatic facilities. Their primary responsibility is to monitor swimmers and ensure a safe swimming environment.

3. Water Park Lifeguards

Lifeguards at water parks are responsible for overseeing the safety of visitors on water slides, lazy rivers, and other attractions.

4. Surf Lifesavers

Surf lifesavers are highly trained lifeguards who patrol South Africa’s popular surf beaches. They are skilled in dealing with challenging surf conditions and performing water rescues.

Factors Affecting Lifeguard Salary in South Africa

Lifeguard salaries in South Africa can be influenced by a variety of factors. These factors can vary from region to region and from one employer to another. Here are some of the key factors that can affect lifeguard salaries in South Africa:

1. Location

The geographical location of the employer can have a significant impact on lifeguard salaries. For example, lifeguards working in coastal areas or popular beach destinations may earn more than those in inland or less touristy regions.

2. Experience

Lifeguards with more years of experience typically earn higher salaries. Experienced lifeguards are often entrusted with more responsibility and may have advanced training and certifications that command higher pay.

3. Certifications

The level of lifeguard certification can affect salaries. Lifeguards with advanced certifications, such as advanced first aid or surf lifesaving qualifications, may earn higher wages.

4. Employer

Different employers, such as government agencies, private resorts, or water parks, may offer different salary structures. Government-run beaches or pools may have standardized pay scales, while private employers might have more flexibility in setting salaries.

5. Seasonal vs. Year-Round Work

Some lifeguard positions are seasonal, especially at beaches and outdoor pools. Seasonal lifeguards may earn higher hourly wages during peak tourist seasons but may not have employment year-round. Year-round positions may offer more stable salaries.

6. Shifts and Overtime

Lifeguards often work irregular hours, including weekends and holidays. Overtime pay may also be available for working extended hours or covering for colleagues.

7. Benefits

Some employers may offer additional benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which can affect the overall compensation package.

8. Unionization

In some cases, lifeguards may be part of labour unions that negotiate for better wages and benefits on their behalf.

9. Skills and Specialization

Lifeguards with specialized skills or the ability to perform additional duties, such as swim coaching or water safety instruction, may command higher pay.

10. Economic Conditions

The overall economic conditions in South Africa can impact wages and employment opportunities. Economic downturns may lead to lower wages and fewer job openings.

11. Competition

The level of competition for lifeguard positions in a particular area can influence wages. In areas with a high demand for lifeguards, employers may offer more competitive salaries.

12. Government Regulations

Minimum wage laws and labour regulations set by the government can also play a role in determining lifeguard salaries.

How to Become a Lifeguard in South Africa

Becoming a lifeguard in South Africa typically involves a combination of training, certification, and practical experience. Here are the general steps to become a lifeguard in South Africa:

1. Meet Prerequisites

– Age: You should be at least 16 years old to start lifeguard training.
– Swimming Skills: You must have strong swimming skills and be able to swim a certain distance comfortably.

2. Choose a Lifeguard Training Program

Look for accredited lifeguard training programs in South Africa. Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) is the national governing body for water safety and lifesaving in the country.

They offer various lifeguard training programs. You can also check with local training centres, swimming clubs, or aquatic facilities for lifeguard training courses.

3. Enroll in a Training Course

Enroll in a recognized lifeguard training course, such as the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) or the Surf Lifesaving South Africa (SAL) training programs. Courses typically cover water rescue techniques, first aid, CPR, and water safety.

4. Complete the Training

Complete all the required training modules, which may include practical exercises and written exams. Pay attention to the theoretical and practical aspects of lifeguarding, including rescue techniques, victim care, and emergency response procedures.

5. Obtain Lifeguard Certification

After completing the training, you will receive a lifeguard certification. This certification is essential for seeking lifeguard employment.

6. Gain Practical Experience

To become an effective lifeguard, practical experience is crucial. Many lifeguarding programs may require a minimum number of practical hours or in-service training. Volunteer or work as a lifeguard at a local pool, beach, or water park to gain experience and improve your skills.

7. Maintain Certification

Lifeguard certifications usually have expiration dates (often one to two years). To remain a certified lifeguard, you’ll need to undergo regular re-certification, which may involve refresher courses and exams.

8. Apply for Lifeguard Jobs

Search for lifeguard job openings at beaches, pools, water parks, and other aquatic facilities. Prepare a resume highlighting your lifeguard certification and experience. Attend interviews and complete any required swim tests or practical assessments.

9. Stay Current with Training

Lifeguarding is a dynamic field, and you should stay current with the latest techniques and safety protocols through ongoing training and professional development.

10. Adhere to Safety Standards

As a lifeguard, your primary responsibility is the safety of swimmers and beachgoers. Always follow safety protocols, pay attention to weather conditions, and be prepared to respond to emergencies.



The average Lifeguard Salary in South Africa is R14,239. Becoming a lifeguard in South Africa involves a structured process of training and certification. Aspiring lifeguards should enrol in accredited programs, such as those offered by Lifesaving South Africa, to learn water rescue techniques, first aid, and CPR. Practical experience is vital for honing skills and gaining employment.

After receiving lifeguard certification, individuals can apply for lifeguard positions at beaches, pools, or water parks. It’s essential to maintain certifications, stay updated with training, and prioritize safety. Lifeguarding demands a commitment to protecting the well-being of swimmers and beachgoers, making it a critical role in ensuring water safety in South Africa.