I Gusti Ngurah Semarajaya, 34 and a Mengwi native, is a lifeguard on the island’s iconic Kuta Beach. He shared his day with The Bali Times.
I wake up at 5am, usually before my alarm clock goes off. Before I even get out of bed I do some stretches. After that I wash, and pray.
I’m from Mengwi, but I live in Batubulan. My wife, Eratnawati, works in a spa. We have a little girl called Danti. She’s three and a half, so she’s not at school yet. If both my wife and I are working we leave her with my in-laws.
I have breakfast at home – bread and water – then I leave. I come to work by motorbike, and I’m usually at the beach by about 6.30. There are six lifeguard posts on Kuta Beach, each of them with eight lifeguards. Each post is responsible for about 500 metres of beach.
The first thing I do when I arrive is check the situation, how the tides and the waves are. It’s different every day, and we have to know where to locate the flags. The red and yellow flags are the swimming area; the red flags are the places where you shouldn’t swim.
After that it’s just a case of doing my job and keeping a check on people. Being a lifeguard is really about giving people information. People who get into difficulties are usually people who can swim, but who don’t know about the conditions here. The other main cause of accidents is collisions between swimmers and surfers.
If we spot someone in difficulty we assess how best to rescue them. If they are in deep water we’ll use the rescue board. Occasionally we pull people out of the sea unconscious. I’ve had to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before.
I am very happy doing this job because I love sports, and I really love the sea. Many Indonesian people are scared of the water, but not me. When I was a small child growing up in Mengwi I often played around the river. When I fell in I had to get myself out; no one would help me. That’s how I learned to be confident in the water.
I have lunch at about 12pm. Usually I bring a packed lunch from home, some rice and whatever else we have. After that I’m on duty for a couple more hours. If I start work at 7, I finish at 2pm. I have to brief the lifeguards coming on for the afternoon shift about what’s happened so far in the day, and then I usually just relax and chat with my friends at the lifeguard post for a while.
People say that lifeguards must get a lot of attention from the girls, because it’s some kind of heroic job, and that maybe lifeguards are playboys. But that’s just a perception. The truth is that to be a lifeguard you should just be someone who likes to help people. Our goal is for people to come to the beach with a happy heart, and to leave with a happy heart. The perfect day is when there are no incidents – nothing, zero – for a whole 24 hours.
You have to be strong and healthy to do this job. You have to like sports, and you have to be prepared to take responsibility. But if any young person wants to become a lifeguard, the first thing they need to do is the basic lifeguard training. It takes about 10 days.
I get home at about 3pm. I have a drink of water as soon as I get in, and I look to see where my daughter is, and then I chat with my wife about what’s happened during the day.
We usually eat at home. There must be rice, and usually we have tempeh or tofu with it; but my favourite is fish. I like anything to do with the sea, including food! I drink water with my dinner. I don’t like tea or coffee, though I’ll have a beer on special occasions.
After that I read, or help to teach my daughter. I prefer reading books about life to watching TV.
Last thing at night I take a look outside to make sure everything is safe and secure, and I’m in bed by midnight. The last thing I think before I fall asleep is how happy I am with my life and the job I do, but I also worry a little about the idea of losing it.Filed under: One Day