BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As the temperature rises, more people are headed out into the water.
Though most will practice safety, there are still cases where someone's life may be in danger in the water and that's where lifeguards are able to step in. Friday was the first day of a week-long training course for lifeguards.
According to Biloxi's head lifeguard Danny Walton, there was a shallow pool of candidates who made the cut to become a life saver.
"We had like 25 try out for this lifeguard class and only like 9 got in the class," Walton said.
Walton said many people don't pass the pretest just to enter the 40-hour, course.
"You have to be able to swim 300 yards consistently. You have to be able to tread water for two minutes and you also have to retrieve a brick from the bottom of a pool like if it was a scene where you have to go get a victim off the bottom. It's not just come in, show up for class and become a lifeguard. You kind of have to be physically fit," he explained.
The future lifeguards are learning how to be a professional and what to look for before they head into the water to make a rescue.
In order for the students to call themselves lifeguards, and one day save someone from drowning, they have to pass at least 80 percent on the written tests and 100 percent on the skills tests.
For Walton, there's something even more important than rescuing someone.
"Lifeguards don't always want to make rescues. We want to try to prevent those rescues from happening. Knowing what to look for, keeping those kids safe before they get hurt," he said.
Knowing a lifeguard is watching over you or a loved one is reassuring, but if they aren't there, Walton says parents should keep a close eye on their children.
"Everyone thinks their kid can swim. We're the ones that find that out. Because the parents think their kids can swim.
You need to stay on top with your kid. You need to get in the water with your kids and you need to help and make sure you get them in some lessons to prevent a rescue from a lifeguard."
So the next time you're in a pool, know that the lifeguards aren't just sitting on the deck chair, soaking in the sun, they're closely watching and are ready to jump in and save your life.
Walton says one of the most important things you can do for your child is put them in a swim class. Classes are being offered at the Biloxi Natatorium. To learn more click