How to Choose a Woman's Lifeguard Suit

Women's lifeguarding suits come in a wide variety of styles: From traditional, thick strapped one-pieces to minimalist bikinis. Depending on the day-to-day of your lifeguarding tasks, some suits will serve you better than others. This guide explains the pros and cons of different lifeguard suit styles.

Traditional Lifeguard Suits

Traditional lifeguard suits for women are thick or thin strapped one-pieces with keyhole backs. They are usually made of LYCRA® and have a stretchy quality makes them comfortable for long periods of use. This style of suit affords the most coverage, and may be preferred by lifeguards at indoor pools or aquatic facilities with conservative dress codes. The secure fit of a one-piece makes it ideal for guards who will be active in the water, whether teaching junior lifeguard classes, doing scans in the water, or making saves. Traditional lifeguard suits come in red or navy blue, usually with white GUARD or LIFEGUARD lettering across the chest.

Lifeguard Bikinis & Tankinis

Two-piece lifeguard suits are designed for action, and therefore usually come in "sport" or workout bikini styles. Again, the design of lifeguard bikinis balance function and comfort. LYCRA® and spandex fabrics make the suits stretchy enough to wear for hours without chafing, while their snug fit and streamlined design allows guards to move quickly through the water in case of an emergency.

Some brands — such as TYR™ — carry low-cut bikinis or even triangle-tops for female guards. Because less of the body is covered by fabric, lifeguarding bikinis are appreciated by female lifeguards who work in hot temperatures, and who also want to keep tan lines to a minimum.

Recently, some popular brands such as Speedo®, TYR®, and ClubSwim™ have started carrying lifeguard tankinis. These are ideal for the lifeguard who wants the freedom of a bikini, but the coverage of a one-piece.

Other Details to Consider

Many lifeguard suits are reversible and are red on one side, but can be switched to blue or black on the other. Reversible suits mean you have two solid-color guard suits in one, and may be more durable because of their doubled-up fabric. Make sure that any suit you order fits with your organization's dress code: There may be rules against black or blue suits, or even two-pieces. Lastly, remember that lifeguard suits are uniforms. They should fit you well enough to make a save in the water, and be comfortable enough to wear during your entire shift.

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