HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - They are the first responders of the beach. City and County of Honolulu lifeguards are always alert, always looking for something that isn't right in the waters.
"The most common misperception of lifeguards is that we sit in the tower all the time, but in reality we need to maintain that level because at any time we're faced with extreme conditions" said Training Lieutenant Kurt Lager.
Before a recruit can become a lifeguard, he or she has to pass a series of grueling physical exams. Drills include pushing an 800 pound SeaDoo down the beach, and in the water, to simulate a launch and a mechanical breakdown. Timed runs and swims are also part of the regiment. Additionally, recruits must learn CPR and other first aid skills.
That's just to get in. Once they become guards, the intensity of the job ramps up exponentially.
"It can get pretty intense. You're just eating your lunch or whatever, next thing you know someone needs your help and you have to go" said seven-year veteran Rachel Bruntsch.
In order to maintain the top physical condition they need for the job, lifeguards are perpetually training.
"All the lifeguards train every day, at least twice a day" said Bruntsch.
The payoff is far more than the pay. As Lager explains, "it's not just a career it's a lifestyle. We love what we do and we have a lot of heart and passion into it".