Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy

Do you have what it takes to be an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard?

The Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Division is looking for strong candidates who have a passion for the ocean, a strong aquatic background, and can perform well during stressful situations. Trying out for the Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard Academy is your first step into joining one of the best lifesaving teams in the Country!

The Hiring Process

How to Become a
Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard


All prospective Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy candidates will have to attend a mandatory Pre-Qualification Exam Day to be eligible for selection into the Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy.

The Pre-Qualification Exam consists of:

  • Pass a 550 freestyle swim in under 10 minutes.
  • Pass a half-mile run in under 4 minutes.
  • Successfully drag a Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard Tower 50 yards.

All prospective Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy candidates must meet the following prerequisites BEFORE starting Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Training:

  • Complete and pass all pre-hire tests, evaluations, interviews, and requirements with the City of Jacksonville Beach Human Resources.
  • Possess a valid Florida Identification Card.
  • 16 years of age by the start of Lifeguard Training Academy.
  • Attend and pass all Pre-Qualification Exams.
  • Additional requirements may apply.

As you look through the process on becoming a City of Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard below, remember, each step is required to meet the requirements of joining the Ocean Rescue team! For any additional questions, click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page!


It is recommended that you train at least four to six months before taking the pre-qualification physical exams. The best way to prepare for the 550 yards freestyle swim is to swim at least three to five times a week. The best way to prepare for the half-mile run is to run two to three times a week on the beach.

The pre-qualification exams are competitive, so try to be in the best swimming and running shape possible.

Although the pre-qualification swim exam is in a pool, it is still expected to be a good ocean swimmer at the start of the Lifeguard Academy. Ocean swimming is very different than pool swimming, so practicing in the ocean, as well, is a must. When you train in the ocean, remember to ask a lifeguard about the ocean conditions and possible hazards.

  1. STEP 2 - APPLY

Applying to become an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard with the City of Jacksonville Beach is completed through GovernmentJobs.com (click here).

Lifeguard Academy Candidates MUST apply for the Ocean Rescue Lifeguard position before attending the Pre-Qualification Exam Day.

Once you have applied for the Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Position, you will be sent an email to complete your Encounter Test. This test is an online situational judgment test. After completing and passing your Encounter Test, you will be contacted by Human Resources on scheduling your Pre-Qualification and Interview date.

Don't see any Lifeguard openings? For the latest information regarding future job opportunities as an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard, subscribe to the position's interest card by clicking here.

  1. STEP 3 - attend the pre-qualification examination day

Pre-Qualification Exam Day consists of multiple performance tests including, but not limited to: 

  • Swim 550-yards freestyle in under 10 minutes.
  • Demonstrate basic swimming skills.
  • Tread water for five minutes without interruptions.
  • Run a half-mile on the beach in under 4 minutes.
  • Drag a Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard Tower 50-yards in the sand.

Candidates will also be briefed on an overview of what to expect as an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy Trainee.


Candidates who pass the Pre-Qualification Exam Day will be contacted by Human Resources to attend an interview for the position of Ocean Rescue Lifeguard. 

Eligible candidates will be selected by the Ocean Rescue Division to join the Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Division team.

Eligibility for the Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy is based on the candidate's pre-qualification performance, interview results, past training and experience, and merit. 

The City of Jacksonville Beach Human Resources will notify candidates who are selected to start onboarding with the City of Jacksonville Beach.

Once a candidate has been contacted by the Jacksonville Beach Human Resources Office for onboarding, they will be required to complete all City of Jacksonville Beach Pre-Hire tests and paperwork. During onboarding, candidates must pass the Drug Screen Test, Medical/Physical Evaluation, and other pre-hire requirements to be eligible for the Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Academy.


Candidates will receive an invitation to join the Lifeguard Academy by the Ocean Rescue Division's Lifeguard Academy Instructor. This email invitation will denote their start date, time, and location. Lifeguard Trainees will be paid during their time in the Lifeguard Training Academy.

The Lifeguard Training Academy is a rigorous 80-hour course held over four consecutive weekends. At the Academy, Lifeguard Trainees are taught the principles of lifeguarding with an emphasis on ocean dynamics, rescues, first aid, boat operations, and more.


After completing the Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Training Academy, Lifeguard Trainees will perform Field Training. Once a Lifeguard Trainee completes all required Field Training, they will become a certified Ocean Rescue Lifeguard, commonly called a Recurrent Lifeguard, and have the option to work various types of schedules. New Recurrent Lifeguards must work a minimum of 100 hours by October of their first year.

All Recurrent Lifeguards will be required to work throughout the Summer, including at least two Holidays. 

When it is not Summertime, Recurrent Lifeguards can make themselves available to work on an as-needed basis. Weather, ocean conditions, and special events determine the number of Lifeguards hired each day.