COVID-19 UPDATE | The City is coordinating closely with our public health officials at the Santa Cruz County Health Department to prevent the further spread COVID-19. In an effort to protect you and our community, changes and measures have been adopted in daily operations and activities. For further details please click here for the City’s Response to COVID-19

Marine Safety Division

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Lifeguard HeadquartersMarine Safety Jet Ski
#1 Municipal Wharf

Lifeguard service is provided daily during the Summer usually from 10:00 - 7:00, but may vary depending on the weather conditions.  Lifeguard services are also provided on the weekends in the Spring and Fall. Service area is from Cowell’s Beach to the San Lorenzo River.

Fires are not allowed on any City Beaches, which include Cowells Beach, Main Beach & beaches along West Cliff Drive.  See where you can have beach fires and BBQ's.

Ocean Safety

Current Water Quality


Note: The regular ocean lifeguard physical agility test is extremely challenging. Candidates should have solid ocean swimming skills and train regularly before the scheduled tryout dates.

Beach Lifeguard I (Open 2/1/2020 - 3/20/2020) $15.6388 - $18.1050/hour -  Under close supervision, this uniformed position works with other lifeguard employees and reports to Beach Lifeguard II's. As part of a team, the Beach Lifeguard I provides ocean safety and emergency medical assistance to the public. Employees assigned to operations will guard an assigned area of beach, provide public safety, and detect and rescue persons or vessels in distress. Employees assigned to the Junior Lifeguard Program will work as a program instructor and report to the Junior Lifeguard Lieutenant and Beach Lifeguard II.

Applications will not be accepted on-line.  Applicants should report to Lifeguard Headquarters (located at #1 Municipal Wharf) at 7:30 am with completed Job Application and Release of Liability forms when reporting for one of three Physical Agility Test dates:   

Candidates under 18yrs of age must have release of liability signed by a legal guardian.

Physical Agility Test:  All applicants must attend one of the following dates at Lifeguard headquarters:
Remaining Lifeguard Tryouts are canceled. 

Event / Maximum time allowed:
1000 meter swim / 20 minutes
200 meter run - 400 meter swim - 200 meter run / 10 minutes.
Wetsuits, goggles, and swim caps are permitted, no swim fins.

Interview:  Successful candidates from the Physical Agility Test will be notified of the time and location for an interview, which will be scheduled for the day after the Physical Agility Test.

Successful candidates from the Interview will be required to attend all training dates as follows:
Training Dates:  April 25-26, May 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-25, June 8, 2020

Questions regarding this application process should be directed to: 
Lifeguard Headquarters
#1 Municipal Wharf 

Beach Lifeguard II & JG Lifeguard II  (Closed) $15.9066 - $19.3368/hour  -  Under supervision, acts as a lead position for other seasonal lifeguards and assists with supervising, coaching and training of Beach Lifeguard I employees. Assignments may include dispatch, vehicle and break shifts. The incumbent is required to possess an EMT/AED certification and will respond to medical emergencies in the beach area. 

Beach Lieutenant  (Closed) $16.5958 - $20.1729/hour - Under general supervision, assists in supervising, planning, organizing and coordinating the daily activities and operation of the Marine Safety Division.

Junior Lifeguard Lieutenant with Parks & Rec (closed) $16.59 - $20.17/per hour - Under supervision of the Recreation Supervisor, the position of Jr. Lifeguard Lieutenant (JG Lt.) hires, trains and supervises all JG I & JG II instructors. JG Lt. plans, organizes, coordinates and supervises the entire operation of the Jr. Lifeguard program including competitions, special events and daily activities.

Marine Rescue Unit Member (Closed) Drop application at Fire Admin or Lifeguard Headquarters $50/24-hour shift (Hourly wage for training and emergency response: $15.03-$16.57/hour) This unit provides 24-hour response to ocean related emergencies and rescues throughout the year. Employees are required to live within a 10-minute response time to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf and have a strong aquatic background. Prior ocean lifeguarding experience is highly desirable. Applications are accepted year round. Testing is held and positions are filled as needed.

Job Application

Release of Liability