SAN DIEGO — Despite summer coming to a close, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department is already gearing up for next year’s peak beach season.

The department is starting its recruitment process for next summer’s seasonal lifeguards this month with the first of three three-day swim tryout sessions.

“Lifeguarding is a challenging and rewarding career that starts with the Lifeguard I position,” Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said in a release. “Our lifeguards are highly trained and very motivated to protect beachgoers and boaters. We encourage those who might be interested to apply online and participate in a swim tryout.” 

Swim tryouts are the first step in the recruitment process for lifeguard positions at one of the city’s beaches. According to SDFD, all candidates must successfully swim 500 meters in under 10 minutes to earn an interview for the seasonal lifeguard position.

This month’s tryouts will be held from Thursday, Sept. 21 to Saturday, Sept. 23. There will also be tryouts from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 and Feb. 8 to Feb. 10. All sessions will be at Ventura Cove in the 1000 block of West Mission Bay Drive, starting at 8 a.m.

At least two days ahead of the swim test, all prospective lifeguards are required to fill out the online application, SDFD said. Details and requirements about the position can be found on the City’s website.

With more than 40 miles of oceanfront and bay shoreline in the city, SDFD lifeguards help keep an average of 17 million visitors safe with patrols and conduct an estimated 7,000 rescues at local beaches each year, the department says.

Additionally, lifeguards manage cliff, scuba and swift water rescues, enforce boating safety regulations and respond to emergencies involving seafaring vessels and other watercraft.