Summertime and the swimming is easy! When it heats up outside New Jersey residents’ thoughts turn to getting to the pools and beaches. With summer temperatures hovering anywhere between 79-85 degrees in the months of July and August, it becomes easy to see why people want to be near water. And wherever there are water and people, there is a need for trained, professional lifeguards. If you’re considering starting a lifeguard business in New Jersey, there are some steps to safeguarding your business. Also, find out about the right types of business insurance to protect the enterprise.
If you’ve never owned a business, you need to do your due diligence. Find out what legal paperwork in New Jersey you need to fill out first. Once you have completed the paperwork, you can begin the planning phase of the process. And it can be helpful to seek legal advice from lawyers and accountants. Ask what steps you should take and which kind of business you should have (sole proprietor vs. LLC, for example). Also, be sure to find out what the legal ramifications are for employees vs. subcontractors. And determine what they will mean for your business and the type of insurance you will need.
Educate Yourself on Training and Certification
Most people start a business with a base level of education and information on the business, but not always. For example, Bob may have been a lifeguard for his college years to help pay the bills, so he has an idea of what a lifeguarding business entails. John who is entrepreneur-minded may see a need for lifeguards in the New Jersey market and begins the business. In either case, both men need to explore the necessary training and certifications required for lifeguarding. What Bob learned in college may be outdated, and John needs to be sure that anyone he hires has the right qualifications and both need a solid insurance plan in place. A good place to start to understand certification is the American Red Cross.
Selecting the Right Candidates
Being a lifeguard is not for everyone. And even those who pass the physical certification may not be mentally strong enough for the job.
Attention to Detail
This is a job that requires unwavering attention to detail. Lifeguards are scanning the water while also dealing with the aquatic antics that can be present in places such as a city swimming pool. If your company is also dealing with ocean lifeguards, then the job is even more strenuous. Ocean lifeguards must continually train to be sure they are strong enough to withstand currents, riptides and other forces of nature.
Some Questions to Ask Potential Lifeguards
What characteristics do you have that you feel make you a good lifeguard?
What aquatic training have you done that you enjoyed the most?
What things do you think are important to have on hand at all times when lifeguarding?
Tell us about your experience in handling children.
How important is teamwork when lifeguarding?
High Sets of Standards for Lifeguards
When a person dies under the care of an average citizen, the law only asks if the person acted in accordance with what another person may have done in that situation. Because lifeguards are trained in rescue, CPR, and other first aid techniques they are held to a higher standard of care. The question the law would ask in the case of death on a lifeguard’s watch is how would another lifeguard have acted under the circumstances. Since there is specific training on how to respond and react as a lifeguard, they could more easily be found to be negligent by a court.
Good Samaritan Protection
Imagine this scenario; Alan is at the beach and sees someone in the water flailing and seemingly in distress. While Alan is alarmed and scared, he cannot swim well. He attempts to help the person drowning, but he’s not able to make it to where they are, and the swimmer perishes. Alan is protected under the Good Samaritan Law which means the swimmer’s family will unlikely be able to bring a lawsuit on Alan for not being able to rescue the swimmer.
Legal Implication for a Lifeguard
Now imagine this same scenario where a lifeguard is on duty. As a trained, licensed lifeguard they have a legal duty to both rescue and provide whatever aid necessary to help save a person. If they fail, the legal implications can be much more severe if the swimmer’s family decides to pursue a lawsuit. These are just a few of the insurance scenarios that could be involved in owning a lifeguarding business in New Jersey.
Understand the Implications of Insurance You May Need
There are two main types of insurance that would be recommended for a lifeguarding business, professional liability and general liability coverage.
If a swimmer in the pool is ignoring the lifeguard’s instruction to not run on the pool deck and slips and falls and injures themselves, then that would be covered by general liability.
If a lifeguard performs a rescue and does CPR on a swimmer and the family later claims the CPR caused medical complications as a result of the rescue, that would fall under professional liability.
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