For the life of me, I could never put into words my concerns with uniforms and Lifeguards. Until now. At least I hope so.
As a group, Lifeguards are often young, thin, fit, good-looking, and not afraid to show it. As a supervisor I got myself into a squeeze when I shared my concern with the female staff wearing what I coined as “Daisy Dukes” or “booty shorts”. I felt it just wasn’t professional looking. Some of the female staff thought I was being sexist. Yikes! Not my intent at all! Since there was no mention of rules for male staff at the time, perhaps that was the issue; I may never really know. Once you hit 50 this all becomes a big mystery.
Let’s keep it simple. All Lifeguards should look professional. The uniform should clearly identify the Lifeguard, breath for comfort, and be completely functional. Water shedding is always an issue. No distractions.
Both male and female staff uniforms should consist of a proper shirt (Tank, golf, or T-shirt) and shorts. Functional track pants that shed water and are congruent with the overall uniform are fine. Foot wear would be appropriate to the venue. Ideally hats that match the uniform are best but the hat’s first function is to protect the Lifeguard from the sun; this would be an outdoor issue.
For the male staff: please - no Speedos or overly small and tight shorts (too much information) – proper shorts and yes you should wear a shirt. No modifying the shirts to show off your pipes and pecs. This includes purposely wearing extra-extra tight tops. What's your message?
For the female staff: bikinis are just going to garner the wrong message when you’re on the job. One-piece bathing suits are a wise choice. Save the bikini for the beach on days off. Hiking up the shorts to show off more leg – again, what’s the message?
Having said all that ....... I get it, I was young once too. It's just a matter of not going too far.
My experience suggests that the public view Lifeguards that appear professional, as competent.
Having troubles getting the staff to follow the uniform policy? Are the uniforms attractive? Do they fit properly? Are they of good quality? Are there options? Is it a requirement? Are you issuing sufficient articles to reflect the amount of days worked; don't be cheap - the more the staff work, the more uniforms they will require. Most of us don't do laundry every day.