Marshello Aryafara, 28, is a lifeguard on Kuta Beach. He shared his day with The Bali Times’ Laurane Marchive

We have a lot of responsibility; it’s not like any other job where you can stop concentrating for a few minutes.

Every day, I wake up at 6, and the first thing I do is yoga, meditation and stretching. I do it for 15 minutes, just to begin the day a good way. After that, I have breakfast and tea, and go straight to the beach, on a motorbike or even on a bicycle, if I want to do some more exercise. Then at 7, I am on the beach, and I have to open it, which means putting the warning flags up, cleaning the area, setting up the rescue equipment and everything. When that’s done, I can do some jogging or swimming for maybe an hour. I have to do a lot of sport, because my job is very physical; so I train every day.

At 10am, people start coming, so I just sit in the sand, have something to eat and watch the tides, because if it is high tide, I have to move the flags again. When I am finished that, I go patrolling on the beach for more than an hour, or at least until the second shift.

If people are in trouble, we rescue them, and actually, that happens quite a lot, even if we don’t have a lot of very serious cases – less than five a month.

I finish my work at 2:30pm, and sometimes I go surfing, but if I have had a busy day, I get back home to take a nap before going again to the beach. Sometimes also I play some music with my guitar, or I write songs. But now that I work full time, I don’t have a lot of time to play music, and I just can play once a month for my friends. But I don’t miss it.

I have been doing this job for 10 years now; before I was just a volunteer – I did it only because I enjoyed it and because I could make side money as a surf guide. Still, now, it’s more official as I am employed by the government. It’s the best solution for me, because I can work full time, which is great, because I love my job. I love being on the beach. That’s why I stay there maybe 12 hours a day.

This job is very rewarding because when you rescue people, some are very grateful. There are people who just leave the beach as fast as they can as if they were still afraid; they just walk away without saying anything. But most of the time, they want to thank the lifeguard; they buy me doughnuts and we talk a bit. I like to meet people, so this work is perfect for me.

Sometimes in one day, we can rescue up to five people: old men having art attacks, surfers getting cuts from boards; it should be always the same, but all the situations are very different. I remember once, I had to rescue a swimmer, a girl: she was stuck in a current and I had to pick her up with the rescue board. It was only when I did it that I realized she was covered with serious sunburns, so I told her to sit in the front of the board so that it would not be too painful, and actually, she looked like a mermaid.

It is not always easy to see everything that is happening in the ocean, also because Kuta Beach is very busy, so a lot of people can get into trouble. But we are used to it; we learn how to be careful all day long. We can use binoculars, or sometimes we just have to look at the water to see there is something wrong. We have a lot of responsibility; it’s not like any other job where you can stop concentrating for a few minutes. Here, everything is important, because a few minutes are enough for someone to panic and drown. But we know our job, and we are here to make people feel safe.

At night, most of the time I don’t go out if I am working the day after. I just spend time with my family, with my parents. I also read books, and I just relax. I need to do this sometimes, because being a lifeguard is stressful: looking after people, making sure they are listening to us, shouting at those who don’t want to listen. We tell them all the time to swim between the red and yellow flags, not in front of the red one, and even though a lot listen to what we say, it would be better if they all did; there would be fewer incidents.

Filed under: One Day

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