Posted Jul 26, 2022, 12:00 PMUpdated on Jul 26, 2022 at 12:59 PM
“I started working on the beaches in 2009. The summer of my 18th birthday. As a lifeguard (MNS), our two main missions can be summed up as follows: supervising swimming and carrying out rescue operations if necessary.
In Carcans, a city on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, it's rather hectic: we take the full force of the swell, there is a phenomenon of baïne [bassin naturel en bordure de plages qui se remplit et se vide en fonction des marées, créant d'importants courants, NDLR] along the Atlantic coast. Even if it's difficult to quantify, I would say that we can do nearly 200 rescue operations on average per summer (including one or two resuscitations for example).
But the rest of the year, my daily life is very different. In Bordeaux where I live, I have three hats as a dentist: I am an assistant – associated with the university in dental surgery, a practitioner at the CHU and a doctoral student in a biological anthropology laboratory.
“A bit like an emergency room”
Until 2017, in parallel with my studies and then my beginning of my career as a dentist, I worked all season long (from May to September). I went through all the levels: team member, deputy chef and chef.
When I was in charge of the position, the work changed a lot because I had to know how to trigger the right resources at the right time, that is to say mobilize so many people with such and such equipment to have the best chance of succeeding. rescue operation – a bit like a hospital emergency room. Of course, I was also responsible for managing the team's schedule, updating protocols and recruiting new ones.
Anticipation, a “sea” of safety
To manage to lead everything from the front, the key for me is anticipation. During my studies, I did everything to avoid remedial work. It was important not to encroach on the season. Today, I have to juggle my schedules well in advance. And I am content to do the weeks and weekends of pre and post-season (May June, then September).
Even if it's less intense, I still put a good boost from February to April, to be able to slow down a bit in May.
Anyway, at the beginning, I didn't have much choice, it was the way to finance my studies, then to supplement my ends of the month at the beginning of my professional career. I was rather very motivated!
Now that I am a doctoral student, this financial supplement still helps me a little but it is mainly out of habit (and passion) that I come back to it. And then, it cuts me off in my research, it's super pleasant.
Being MNS is both a summer break and a huge commitment. Especially when in September, we have to go back to our “real” job! In my case, what is good is that the two activities (medical and first aid) are related: I use my medical knowledge during intervention as a rescuer, but I also draw inspiration from effectiveness of first aid techniques in my classes at the hospital.
But among civilians like me, the profiles are very heterogeneous: there can be doctors, caregivers or paramedical professionals but also teachers, students or even engineers!
First aid on land and in the sea
To become a lifeguard (MNS), you need two first aid certificates (PSE1 and PSE2 for first aid) and your national water safety and rescue certificate (BNSSA). In total, the average price is estimated at 800 Pounds.
As a team member at Carcans Océan, we are paid a little more than the Smic [1.645 euros brut par mois, NDLR]. The salary of the assistants is more around 1,900 Pounds gross and that of the chef more of 2,300 Pounds gross. In view of the responsibilities involved, it is relatively not very well paid.
Timid spontaneity… before 11 o'clock!
The main challenge remains not to arrive too tired at the start of the school year. This year with my three hospital-university activities (teaching, research and practitioner), I'm a little dreading the month of September so I've been preparing my classes since May. And then, when I work at the station, I take advantage of the mornings (before 11 a.m.) to do my research or play sports.
This year, for the first time in a long time, I took a vacation… Finally, I am going to the mountains of Cantal to do mountain pastures [pâturage d'été en montagne, NDLR] with my girlfriend. We will also go hiking! Anyway, when I'm not working, I always go away from the beach. »
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