Parent and Participant Handbook

Program Overview

The Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard Program introduces the young people of the community to safe marine and aquatic recreational opportunities. It is a fun, but physically demanding program that provides the participants with knowledge and respect for the ocean and its surrounding environment. It is designed to help improve young people’s physical conditioning while emphasizing the importance of safety, respect and camaraderie.

During the course of the program the following topics will be addressed: Ocean Proofing, Physical Development, Lifeguard Skills, First Aid, and Competition. Junior Lifeguards will participate in many activities including, but not limited to; open water swimming, paddle boarding, body surfing, body boarding, surfing, and beach games.

Age Requirements

The age requirement for Junior Lifeguards is nine to seventeen years of age on the first day of the program. Participants will be placed in age groups as follows:

  • ‘C’ group (9 to 11 years old)
  • ‘B’ group (12 to 13 years old)
  • ‘A’ group (14 to 17 years old)

The above groups are primarily based on age; but size, strength, ability, and confidence may also be considered.


Junior Lifeguards enrolled in the previous year’s program are given priority registration. After the priority registration period enrollment in the Junior Lifeguard Program is on a “first come first served” basis. Due to the popularity of the program, enrollment is expected to fill to capacity.

ALL participants must pass a swim test before registration.

If your child does not attend or fails to pass the swim test you will not be able to register him/her for the Junior Lifeguard Program. 


If enrollment fills to capacity in the Junior Lifeguard Program, and your child has successfully passed the swim test, parents will have the option of registering their child and being placed on the wait list. You will be notified within the first week of the program if space is available.

Swim Test

The Junior Lifeguard Program is not a “learn to swim” course; therefore prospective participants are screened at a tryout test to determine if they have the minimum skills needed to benefit from the program. Returning Junior Guards are tested to ensure that they have maintained these skills over the course of the year.

Swim lessons or participation on a competitive swim team are strongly encouraged for preparation. The Junior Lifeguard Program also offers Prep and Conditioning courses to help your child get ready for the swim test (please refer to the Parks and Recreation Activity Guide – Spring – for further information on those classes).

The Swim Tests will consist of a 100 yard swim which must be completed within:

  • 1:55 for ‘C’ group (9-11)
  • 1:40 for ‘B’ group (12-13)
  • 1:35 for ‘A’ group (14-17)

All swim tests will be held at McGaugh Elementary School – 1698 Bolsa Avenue (corner of Seal Beach Blvd and Bolsa Ave).


For this years swim test dates please see Program Information Page.


All Junior Guards, new and returning, must pass the swim test or they will not be eligible for registration.

Program Dates, Times, & Locations

One Session: June 23 through August 8

Monday through Friday 9am to 12noon

The Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard Program meets on the sand on the North side of the Seal Beach Pier, directly in front of the 8th Street Beach parking lot. The Program begins promptly at 9am and ends at noon. Exception to normal program hours will be announced for field trips and any special events.

Participant Arrival and Departure

It is the responsibility of each parent or guardian to ensure safe travel for their child to and from the designated Junior Lifeguard Program meeting area. Please discuss a designated plan in advance with your child so they understand where, when, and who to meet.

The City of Seal Beach and the Junior Lifeguard Program are not responsible for participants outside of scheduled program hours and activities. Parents or guardians are responsible for their children immediately prior to and immediately following scheduled program hours.

Parents or guardians are expected to be prompt when dropping off and picking up their children. The program staff understands there may be some situations beyond a person’s control which will cause them to arrive late to pick up their child. In the event a situation arises which will make you more than 20 minutes late, please make every attempt to notify the program staff.

Instruction and Supervision

The Junior Lifeguards are instructed by qualified Ocean Lifeguards. All of the instructors have successfully completed an intensive United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) certified Open Water Lifeguard training course and most have worked in the field as lifeguards for more than one year. Instructors are also certified in Emergency First Aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer. Many of the instructors have prior experience working with children either as coaches or as teachers.

During the Program, Junior Guards are also under the watchful eye of on-duty beach lifeguards in addition to the close supervision provided by the instructors.

Mandatory Participation Policy

The Junior Lifeguard program is not a day care program, it requires daily participation in rigorous physical activity (i.e. – running and swimming). If your child is not fully able to participate - they have an injury or illness which inhibits participation in any given activity – please do not send your child to Junior Lifeguards. Instructors can not maintain adequate supervision over their group when there is not full participation in each activity.

All program participants must be able to swim, enter the ocean readily and participate in water activities. Parents should be aware that ocean swims are a daily part of the program. Your child will be required to swim the distance of the pier at least once during the course of the program. During the first week, all Junior Guards must demonstrate the ability to enter the water readily and without hesitation, as well as the ability to swim a given distance without requiring Instructor assistance. If after the first week, your child can not or does not demonstrate these abilities you will be asked to reconsider your child’s participation in the program.

Attendance Policy

Attendance is taken daily for all groups in the Junior Lifeguard Program. Regular attendance is encouraged and will allow participants to fully benefit from the program. However, if your child cannot fully participate in the days activities please do not send your child to Junior Guards. Please notify your child’s instructor if your child will be absent more than two days in a row. When your child returns from an absence please send a written note with him or her.

Participants are instructed on important ocean skills and physical conditioning techniques that are introduced on a daily basis and build cumulatively throughout the seven week program. Extended absences of more than one week are not recommended. Program fees will not be prorated or refunded for extended absences.

Participant Discipline Policy

For the Junior Lifeguard Program to be successful participants must exhibit behavior that is respectful of staff and other participants as well as our equipment and facilities. Group activities are vital to our program. A student who is disruptive to group activities and disrespectful to instructors diminishes the enjoyment and education of the other participants.

The intent of discipline is to gain compliance while instructing the student in acceptable behavior. On the first day of the program your child will be given a copy of the “General Orders”. The instructor will go over each of the rules with your child on that day. Both you and your child will be asked to sign and return the “General Orders” to your child’s instructor. The following expected behaviors comprise the “General Orders”; please familiarize your child and yourself with them.

  • Report to designated area on time each day wearing your Junior Lifeguard uniform
  • Display the utmost courtesy to all persons with whom you come in contact with – i.e.) don’t run over or near the belongings of people on the beach, do not get too close to swimmers when surfing and body boarding
  • Respect fellow Junior Lifeguards and their personal gear
  • Treat all department equipment with respect – you are responsible for the equipment that you are using, do not give equipment to someone else or leave it on the beach
  • Practice good sportsmanship, especially during competitions
  • NEVER make vulgar gestures or use vulgar language
  • Assert a positive attitude with regards to all activities and instruction
  • Give ALL instructors your full attention at all times
  • Act immediately when requested by instructors and/or lifeguard personnel.
  • DO NOT make any false reports to you instructor regarding injury or illness in order to avoid having to participate in any activity. Such behavior will result in immediate disciplinary action.
  • Preserve the beach environment, keeping it a clean and safe place. Remember to throw litter in the trashcans after snack and don’t leave it on the beach!
  • Seal Beach Junior Lifeguards must remember that they represent the program, the Lifeguard Department and the City of Seal Beach. They should be courteous to the public at all times.

The Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard staff follows a progressive discipline procedure. The steps for a minor discipline situation are as follows:

  1. First occurrence – participant will be counseled about the situation and given an explanation of what behavior change is expected.
  2. Subsequent occurrence – the participant may be asked to do push-ups, or a supervised swim or run of reasonable distance. The participant should spend this time reflecting on the incident and what they could have done differently.
  3. If a participant has a series of discipline situations in the same day or over several days, the Instructor will inform the Junior Lifeguard Director who will then inform the participant’s parent or guardian about the situation.
  4. If a participant continually disregards the instructor or shows little or no improvement in behavior with steps 1 through 3, the student will be suspended from the program for a period of time not to exceed five days. There will be no prorated refund of fees.
  5. If after suspension, the participant’s behavior is still not acceptable, the parent or guardian of the participant will be informed that the student may no longer attend any of the program activities. There will be no refund of fees.

Major first-time incidents may progress the participant directly to step 4 or 5 of the above disciplinary process. Major incidents include:

  • Truancy
  • Insubordination
  • Fighting with another participant or other person
  • Unlawful or non-consensual touching of another person
  • Stealing
  • Vandalism
  • Possession or participation with alcohol, illegal drugs or any type of weapon.
  • Other conduct which brings disrespect to the Junior Lifeguard Program or the City of Seal Beach.

Any time a major behavioral problem or incident occurs the Lifeguard Captain shall be advised.


In addition to the age groups previously mentioned, Junior Lifeguard Participants will be broken down into individual instructor led groups. These groups will be determined primarily by physical ability. In order to facilitate adequate supervision of each participant during daily activities it is necessary that each group member be of similar ability.

Switching groups so that participants may be with their friends will not be considered. 

Daily Requirements

All Junior Guards will report to the designated meeting area at 9:00 am SHARP and will leave the beach at 12:00 noon. Parents and guardians are responsible for their children after program hours.

All Junior Guards are expected to participate in ALL activities (excluding field trips and/or Regionals). Participants should be on time, in full uniform, and prepared for their session on the beach (i.e. – sand, sun, fog, cold weather, exercise, lectures, etc.)

Everyday Junior Guards should: 

  • Be in full uniform (required)
    JG t-shirt, navy shorts, navy swim suit
  • Bring towel/warm clothing (highly recommended)
    JG sweatshirt
  • Bring sun protection (highly recommended)
    Sunscreen, navy or black rash guard
  • Bring a snack (highly recommended)
    Healthy snacks and lots of water
  • Bring a duffle bag/back pack for personal gear (highly recommended) 
  • Positive and enthusiastic attitude (required) 


Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard participants are required to wear a uniform for team camaraderie and for safety. The uniforms allow the instructors to safely monitor the children and distinguish them from other beach patrons. Junior Guards must wear the required uniform in order to participate.

All Junior Lifeguards must wear current year JG t-shirt and navy shorts. Girls must wear a navy “Speedo” type swimsuit; it may be one or two piece. It is highly recommended for boys to wear a competition style swim suit or “jammers” under their shorts. Competitive Aquatic Supply in Huntington Beach sells boy's and girl's navy suits with the Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard logo at a discounted rate for Junior Lifeguard participants.

An official Junior Lifeguard uniform will be handed out the first day of the program.


Weekly Newsletter/Progress Report

Staff will distribute a weekly newsletter/progress report each Friday to your child. This newsletter provides general information of that week’s activities and important upcoming events or information parents need to be aware of.  


Each year there are a limited number of full and/or half scholarships available. The scholarships are made possible by proceeds from the Seal Beach 10K Run.

Scholarships will be awarded on a needs basis. Anyone interested in applying for a scholarship must complete an application form. Application forms will be available at Lifeguard Headquarters or on our website (see address below). Completed forms can be mailed to Seal Beach Junior Lifeguard Program 211 8th Street Seal Beach, CA 90740 or returned to Lifeguard Headquarters. All information provided will be kept confidential.


2014 Scholarship are due on June 9th.  Please turn in scholarship applications at Lifeguard Headquarters. 


The Scholarship Application Form can be found by clicking here.

Contact Us



Telephone: (562) 431-2527 ext 1206 or (562) 431-1531