The world has come a long way in terms of tattoo acceptance in the last two decades. No longer are tattoos associated solely with the rebellious or outlaw image, but rather they have become a form of self-expression for many individuals.
This has created a dilemma for those who work in industries where appearance and professionalism are important, such as lifeguarding.
However, it is important to note that lifeguarding often takes place at public pools or beaches where your body is on show most of the time and a professional appearance is key to maintaining a level of authority and respect from those using the facility.
So, can lifeguards have tattoos without worrying about affecting their job performance or professionalism? The answer is not a simple yes or no.
Can Lifeguards Have Tattoos?
There’s no hard law that either encourages or bans tattoos for lifeguards. It ultimately comes down to the policies set by the specific organization or facility where the lifeguard works.
Some organizations may have strict guidelines on visible tattoos, while others might be more lenient. It’s important for potential lifeguards to research and understand the policies of potential employers before getting a visible tattoo.
Even if an organization allows visible tattoos, lifeguards should always consider the potential implications on their professional image and how they may be perceived by both coworkers and those they are responsible for keeping safe at the pool or beach.
Ultimately, it’s up to each individual lifeguard to weigh the risks and make a decision that they feel confident in. But it’s always important to remember the responsibility and professionalism that comes with the role of a lifeguard and to keep that in mind when making any choices related to appearance.
Types & Placement of Tattoos
The type and placement of a tattoo can also play a role in whether or not it may be deemed appropriate for a lifeguard.
For example, if a lifeguard has a small, discreet tattoo that can easily be covered with a swimsuit or uniform, it is unlikely to affect their job performance in any way.
However, a large or graphic tattoo on the face, neck, or hands may be seen as unprofessional and potentially distracting for both coworkers and those using the facility.
While the placement of the tattoo can be crucial, so is the content.
Tattoos with profanity or violence may not be seen as appropriate for a lifeguard, whereas nature scenes or inspirational quotes may blend in more easily with the beach or pool atmosphere.
Again, it ultimately comes down to the individual lifeguard’s own judgment and understanding of their organization’s policies.
Overall, tattoos can be a form of self-expression and personal style. But it’s important for lifeguards to always keep their job performance and professional image in mind when considering visible tattoos.
Tattoo Ideas for Lifeguards
If you’re an aspiring lifeguard with a thing for body art, there are many tattoo ideas that align with the profession.
Some examples include:
- The universal symbol for lifeguards: a red and white buoy or rescue tube
- The Red Cross emblem
- An image of a lifeguard tower or beach scene
- The phrase “lifeguard on duty”
- Beach or ocean scene
- Inspirational quote
- Lifesaving symbol
- The phrase “lifeguard” or the lifeguard flag
- A surfboard or swimmer silhouette
- Seahorse or other sea creature
- Life preserver ring
- Dolphin or shark (as long as it’s not violent in nature)
Of course, these are just examples and a tattoo doesn’t have to refer directly to lifeguarding in order to be appropriate for the profession.
Many if not most tattoos are a personal choice, so feel free to get creative and choose a design that holds meaning for you.
Because of how far the world has come in the last 20 or so years, you’d think that discriminating against people with tattoos is no longer allowed by law.
Well, it is.
At least when you’re a lifeguard looking for a job in the United States.
According to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. However, this act does not include tattoos or body modifications as protected characteristics.
Many companies do have their own policies on visible tattoos and piercings in the workplace. But without tattoo discrimination being federally protected, lifeguards may still encounter bias and judgment during their job search.
It’s important to be aware of potential discrimination, but ultimately it is up to the individual lifeguard to make a confident, informed decision about visible tattoos. Researching potential employer policies and being strategic in tattoo placement can help minimize any negative effects on job opportunities.
Lifeguards & Tattoos: Summary
Settling the question of whether or not lifeguards can have tattoos ultimately comes down to individual judgment and understanding of company policies.
While a small, discreet tattoo may not affect job performance, a large or graphic tattoo in a visible location could be seen as unprofessional. The content of the tattoo should also be considered, as words or images that are offensive or inappropriate may not be suitable for a lifeguard.
Tattoo discrimination is not federally protected in the United States, so it’s important for lifeguards to be aware of potential bias and make informed decisions about visible tattoos. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual but considerations of professional image and employer policies should be made.
If you’re a lifeguard with tattoos and would like to share your experience or advice, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!