Beach patrol

Many have seen or heard of the classic television series “Baywatch.” Gorgeous men and women in red bathing suits stride in slow motion on the sandy beach with rescue buoys tucked under their arms.

Nadia Dan ’08 and David Chanin ’08 are both currently in the process of becoming L.A. County Beach lifeguards. Since last September, both Dan and Chanin have participated in the demanding training to become a lifeguard.

In reality, almost like on “Baywatch,” lifeguards play a principal role on the beach. They wear red bathing suits and sometimes carry rescue buoys under their arms. However, they aren’t acting; they have been professionally trained to save lives of anyone that is potentially in danger.

In real life, lifeguarding is not about parading around to show off a nice tan. Dan and Chanin said that they take the training seriously in hopes of becoming lifeguards for the summer.

Unlike becoming a pool lifeguard, beach lifeguard training is much harder and more time consuming.

Dan received her pool license last summer by taking CPR and first aid courses. Chanin also took classes to attain a pool lifeguarding license a couple of years ago.

Since receiving it, he has guarded during past summers at the Mulholland Tennis Club and occasionally at private parties on the weekends.

“It is a thousand times harder to become a beach lifeguard than a pool one,” Dan said. “I got my pool certification in a weekend and my beach one has taken months.”

The intensive training began with a 1,000-meter swim in the ocean. The top 110 finishers were then taken for an interview.

After both passed the interview, an extensive background check was completed.

“They literally looked into everything that we have ever done,” Dan said.

After passing the detailed background check, Dan and Chanin had to undergo physicals to check their health.

The final step is attending Rookie School, which begins in April and goes into May. Here, the finalists learn everything about lifeguarding at the beach.

The Rookie School is a five-weekend long program, including education and physical tests. Students have to swim, run, do push-ups and learn about lifeguarding during all-day classes.

“The pool lifeguarding class was pretty laid back, but I’m expecting the ocean training to be more like a boot camp than a class,” Chanin said.

“Los Angeles County Lifeguards are technically part of the fire department, so I think that might be why the training is so strenuous.”

Completing Rookie School will mean that both of them have graduated and will finally get to start working on the beach. Dan hopes to be guarding by this upcoming summer.

“It’s really a great summer job; I mean, where else can you make $20 an hour for going to the beach?” Chanin said.

Only about one-third of the people who start training actually make it all the way to the end, proving how intense the training is, Dan said.

“I love being in the water and it’s a really fun social job,” Dan said. “You get to meet people that you will know for the rest of your life.”