Has anybody taken a lifeguard test in Taiwan

Compared to the tests offered in the states or Europe, how difficult is it to acquire a certification? Answers would be much appreciated.


A very interesting question - I would like to know as well.

For anyone that has done this, or knows something about. Could you explain why the extra precautions on the beaches, with usually not any large swells?

Is there some hidden danger around Taiwan that other places don’t have, or is it just that Taiwanese don’t know how to swim very well…

a colleague of mine did the basic one (i understand there are a few levels, swimming pool and open water) he told me the requirements were not too difficult, basically a swim and dive test, but its all in Chinese.

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@MalcolmReynolds? I guess at Baishawan there’s an unnoticeable riptide that is quite dangerous.

Probably both, Taiwan only recently became a developed country, so swimming ability of the average Taiwanese probably isn’t as good as the average European. This isn’t an issue unique to Taiwan tho. Korea, Turkey, China, Malaysia, Latin America, etc, in general ‘2nd world’ countries all have this issue.

Don’t know how difficult compared to U.S. or Europe it was for the missus, but I’m sure she’d find it easy (see below).
She took it over 2 decades ago with her uni classmates.
At 白沙灣.
Maybe roughly 1000m. Hard to remember.
She said for her it was easy, could do it in her sleep, given she’s an athlete (like her classmates) who takes to the water like a fish. Her classmates who have separate talents may not have thought so.

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I heard many beaches in Taiwan have rip currents that have killed many… especially people here can’t swim.

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I haven’t taken it. I have seen the practical side of it done quite a few times.

It’s done in a pool. I’ve seen others done in pools overseas so not sure how much that matters. What I’ve seen here involves

Throwing a rope to a certain distance.
Placing a person on an incapacitated floating stretcher board.
Removing them from the pool.
Swimming competency test.
And defibrillation competency.

It’s possible they also do a mandatory first aid course but I’m not sure. I’d say some of them, particularly the younger women, should take mandatory self defense classes. Most of those I’ve seen completing the courses end up teaching swimming classes or working as a lifeguard at the pool they did their lifeguard certificate at.

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The extra precautions on the beaches are because of what Luthiers said. The east coast of Taiwan has more underwater rips than most people can fathom. Most Taiwanese have zero understanding of ocean currents or rips. Especially how tidal rips work. Also most Taiwanese don’t even have basic swimming ability. Meaning they don’t even know how to float, will panic, thrash around, and swallow water while sinking in water they can stand up in. Because they felt something touch their toe. That was probably a rock or piece of seaweed. Plus you shouldn’t go swimming during ghost month because the ghosts will drag you underwater and kill you.


Looked into it, and the theory test was awful when I last checked :frowning: let me see if I can find it again …

Even Olympic swimmers and Navy SEALs can’t fight a rip current. People here aren’t taught that you swim parallel to the shore until you’re not caught in the rip current before swimming back to the shore. Instead they try to swim towards the shore and just get pulled further out. As someone who started swimming lessons when I was in (swim) diapers, the fact that people aren’t taught that is just depressing to me.

I would never want to be a lifeguard in Taiwan. I lifeguarded once upon a time in the US. Had a few swim team members have seizures in the water and there were 85+ year old ladies that would swim daily, so there was plenty of excitement at my pool, but Taiwanese generally don’t learn to swim and are conditioned to fear all water, which means you get adults drowning in half a meter of water probably more often than getting pulled out to sea by currents


Many of the pools I’ve used in Taiwan don’t have deep ends - as a (quite short!) adult, I can’t tread water in the pool I use for length swimming, because nowhere is it deep enough. I’m not sure how common that situation is when kids are learning, and at least in this pool little kids would be able to tread water, but for adults learning in that pool? Nope, they’re not going to get that skill, and I’d have thought it’s key.

I assume that you speak, read, write and can understand spoken Mandarin fluently. Why? Because you must attend classes conducted in Mandarin, you must pass the exam in Mandarin and you must pass the physical water requirements via instructions given in Mandarin.

Question: What’s your motivation for attending this course?

Feel up to the challenge? Alrighty then. Here’s what you need to know.





Nice Taipei County lifeguard hat. A keeper.

A long time ago baby! LOL


Ocean (and other) currents.

This question has been answered so many times over the years. If you do a basic search, you’ll find postings from over 20 years ago regarding this exact subject. The last time I recall it being addressed was in summer of 2021 when two foreigners ignored the rules and swam outside the lines, got caught in the rip and were surely on their way to drowning if it weren’t for two super cool surfers who just happened to see them and saved their dumb asses. Do a search. Trust me, it’s here.

In the meantime, relevant article just popped up in my news feed. Read it.


An estimated 3,960 fatal unintentional drownings happen every year in the United States (including boating incidents). That is an average of 11 drowning deaths per day.

To be honest, that is a lot per day, especially to put it into perspective with other things that people die of that is not health-connected.
Surprised the feds/states have not mandated swimming lessons for kids, licenses to go to a swimming pool/beach, etc. etc.

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My high school had a pool so we were required by state law to have a minimum number of swimming hours per year. You could not get out of swimming for any reason. You miss a swim gym class and you’re in the water with the swim team at 5:30 a.m. to make up for it. You’re gym class exempt because you’re in a sport that involves more than 25 hours of physical exercise per week and you still need to come in and swim. In TW not only is there no such rule, I’ve wandered right onto the pool deck of three different schools because all the doors were propped open. No one else in sight, let alone a lifeguard. Absolutely bonkers.

But the problem in the US is that swimming lessons requires access to a pool during a time that lessons are being offered. There should be buses to pools for all students that don’t have pools, but good luck convincing red state governors to put any more money into public ed than they don’t already…