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Lifeguard Signals

Signals can be very confusing at times. They also vary from team to team, country to country. Find out what signals are in use where you live.

Whistle Signals

1 Short Blast:
Get the attention of a swimmer.

2 Short Blasts:
Get the attention of a fellow lifeguard.

3 Short Blasts:
Signal to a fellow lifeguard that an emergency is taking place, action must be taken.

1 Long Blow:
Signal to swimmers that they must clear the pool or beach, because an emergency has happened which is significant enough for the lifeguards to clear the water.

Arm Signals in the Water

One hand held vertically upwards:
Help me, come to me, come in.

Both arms held vertically up:
Urgent assistance required.

Arms waving above head:
Attract other person's attention.

One arm waved to and fro above head:
Message not clear, please repeat.

Both arms held horizontal:
All clear, situation OK.

Arm Signals on Land

Arms waving to and fro above head:
Attract other person's attention

Both arms held horizontal:
Remain stationary

One hand held vertically upwards:
Help. Come to me, come in.

Both arms held vertically up:
Go further out.

Arm horizontal to left or right:
Go in that direction

Arms held at 45 degrees below horizontal:
Investigate object in the water

One arm waved to and fro above head:
Message not clear, please repeat

Arm moves rapidly from straight up to straight down:
Message understood.