Portugal has 5,178 certified lifeguards, the same number as in other years, which is enough to ensure surveillance on the beaches, assured the director of the Instituto de Socorros a Shipwrecked (ISN).

“Actually, there are 5,178 certified lifeguards. A number which does not deviate from the number in recent years, this is reality”, Paulo Vicente told the Lusa agency.

The head of the entity that regulates the sector (responsible, among other duties, for the certification of public and private bodies that train lifeguards) underlined that the problem of the lack of those providing that service ends up being directly related to the lifeguards themselves – that they no longer have a seasonal occupation or do not accept wages that they consider low, despite other ancillary conditions.

In practice, this results in a disparity in wages practiced throughout the country. The new Basic Law for the Prevention of Drowning, which includes specific legislation for lifeguards and whose proposal is in the final stages of preparation by the Technical Commission for Aquatic Safety to be submitted to the Ministry of Defence, intends to change the situation.

Paulo Vicente admitted that, faced with an offer of a monthly salary of 1,200 euros, plus food and accommodation, “there are many lifeguards who do not accept this”, specifically young university students, who end up not exercising the function for which they were trained and choose to do other summer jobs, in hotels and restaurants.