IT may be freezing outside, but council officials are already looking for people willing to take the plunge and become a beach lifeguard for the summer season.
Hartlepool Council has launched its annual recruitment drive for lifeguards to cover beaches at Seaton Carew and on the Headland from the end of May until September.
Officials say they need up to 22 lifeguards in total, and in recent years as many as 110 people have applied for the posts.
Applicants, who need to be aged over 16, are then whittled down to a shortlist of about 50 ahead of a swimming test to ensure they can swim 400m in eight minutes or under.
Potential candidates should be a strong swimmer, alert and observant, a good communicator, be relied upon in an emergency, available to work weekends and throughout the summer.
Debbie Kershaw, the council’s quality and safety officer, said: “This is a good experience and a great chance for people to develop their life skills and in the past we have had lifeguards aged 17 up to 30 years of age.
“We had no major incidents last year, mainly dealing with cuts and bruises, but it is all about prevention and the aim is to prevent the accident from happening in the first place.
“Ideally, candidates will hold a current National Beach Lifeguard Qualification or equivalent, however, full training to achieve that award will be made available to suitable candidates.
“To demonstrate good swimming ability, applicants will be required to undertake a pool swim of 400m in eight minutes or under.
“We would strongly advise potential candidates to train prior to the 400m swim test.”
There are two roles being advertised, beach lifeguards who are paid £9.22 per hour and beach lifeguard supervisors who are paid £10.17 per hour. Successful candidates will cover the beach at Seaton Carew for the school half-term holidays in May, then every weekend over the summer plus the six-week school summer holidays themselves which run from July 24 to September 2.
Beach lifeguards also cover the Fish Sands and Block Sands on the Headland during the school summer holidays. Deadline for applications is noon on February 13, and for more information call Debbie on (01429) 523412.