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The Life of a Portugese Lifeguard

Surf Tales Portugal

The Life of a Portugese Lifeguard

N: 38° 42′ 15″ W: 9° 23′ 0″

The beach of Poça Beach in Sao Joao do Estoril (Cascais) is very popular. Especially in the summer this beach is packed with people. The sandy beach has a spacious location and – certainly in the summer – you can walk straight into the water. The parking options are good and you can just about see Lisbon. We stopped by during our working visit to Portugal and I started talking to Marta and Bernardo. They work on this beach as a beach guard and I was quite curious about their story.

What does a lifeguard do in Portugal?

The conversation was slow starting. I asked Bernardo if he would like to tell me something about his work. Actually, this didn’t really come true, because they were only two of them on duty at the time (Johnny, the 3rd colleague, was on a lunch break). “It’s not that busy,” I thought, “so what’s the deal”? They did not speak from experience for no reason. Less than 30 seconds later, Bernardo and Marta went out to help an elderly man who had landed in a rip. When they returned a few minutes later – mission successful – Johnny came back and Marta went for lunch. I tried again and started a conversation with Bernardo.

Bernardo and Marta ensure that a bathing guest can safely leave the water

He told me that he is from the Porto area and now lives in Lisbon – for a few years now – where he is studying. His study is Outdoor Tourism, where he focuses on the more extreme activities. Think of kayaking, climbing and surfing. He is also looking to work at TAP Airline.

Would you like a surfing holiday in Portugal?

Why are there no lifeguards in winter,the sun shines then too?

“I have been a lifeguard for almost 5 years,” Bernardo tells me. “I do this with great pleasure and hope to stay active in this sector for a long time.” I did not expect his answer immediately, although it sounded logical. ” In those 5 years, I only had to take action twice for a surfer. They are not the group that gets into trouble. Certainly outside the high season – in the summer there are actually almost no waves – local surfers come here in particular. They know everything about the rips and rocks that often stay under water (but protrude). And if tourists come to surf, the community does its job; the surfers point out the dangers to each other and ensure that everyone can have fun in a safe way. The swimmers – a lot of tourists – cause a lot more headaches; they are the reason that lifeguards are needed.”

Read on after the photo ….


However, Bernardo does not work on the beach all year round. “” The season runs from mid-March to mid-November. In the months beyond, none of us is present to keep an eye on things. It is indeed true that the beaches are less crowded, but I personally still think that 2 of us should always be present, even if it is quiet. “

Combining passion and work

He continues his story, and his eyes light up as soon as I ask him for his dream. “” I would think it would be great if I could continue to do this work all year round. I prefer to combine this with my studies, because to stay connected with other extreme sports in such a way would make the picture perfect. “

Bernardo can have lunch herself as soon as Marta returns. For us it is unfortunately not possible to wait for that, but luckily there is still time for a nice photo with Bernardo. Thank you!

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