Proposed features/Lifeguard

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Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: Fizzie41
Tagging: emergency=lifeguard
Applies to: node, area
Definition: where a lifeguard will be while on duty.
Rendered as: possibly either a red and yellow flag, or a life-ring?
Drafted on: 2021-01-22
RFC start: 2021-02-16


Officially approve the currently in use tag emergency=lifeguard for the permanent, or semi-permanent, location where a lifeguard will be while on duty.

Incidentally, this tag is currently the default preset in iD for "lifeguard".

Also approve sub-tags to further describe where a lifeguard may be found:
lifeguard=rescue_station: a building which lifeguards operate from, and where equipment, vehicles etc are often stored
(This could also be simply lifeguard=base)
lifeguard=tower: an elevated tower used by lifeguards to watch and supervise swimmers
lifeguard=yes: for a water recreation feature with a lifeguard on duty, who may not be in a fixed location
office=lifeguard: a lifeguard administration office / building only

Proposed approved tags
emergency=lifeguard lifeguard=rescue_station lifeguard=tower lifeguard=yes office=lifeguard

Tags to be Deprecated

As part of this proposal, the following tags should all be deprecated & their existing usage all be merged under this tag:






A lifeguard (sometimes also known as a lifesaver lifesaving) is a trained rescuer who supervises the safety, and carries out rescues, of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants, at locations such as a beach, swimming pool, water park, river or lake.

They may also, particularly on inland waterways, sometimes be involved in the rescue of sailors from small vessels in distress.

Lifeguards may be either paid professionals, or volunteers only. This tag does not discriminate between them.


This tag is to indicate the permanent, or semi-permanent (e.g. structure is removed over winter, but is replaced in the same position the following summer), locations that lifeguards will be found while on duty.

It is not to be used for non-permanent locations e.g. places where lifeguards may be found on a beach, but be in a different spot each day. See lifeguard=yes

How to Map

Place a node at the location where lifeguards may be found on duty e.g. a tower or rescue station, and tag as emergency=lifeguard.

If it is considered necessary to describe the actual type of facility where the lifeguard will be e.g. a tower, that could be added as a sub-tag e.g. emergency=lifeguard + lifeguard=tower

For lifeguard rescue stations, consider drawing an area around the building and tag as emergency=lifeguard + lifeguard=rescue_station.

For water recreation features such as a beach, swimming pool or water park, where there will be a lifeguard on duty who may not be in a fixed location, add lifeguard=yes to it's existing tagging.

For lifeguard administration buildings / offices, where it is unlikely that an actual lifeguard will be available, consider tagging as office=lifeguard only

Tags used in combination

  • name=* - e.g. North Burleigh Beach
  • alt_name=* - e.g. Lifeguard Tower 20
  • operator=* - e.g. Gold Coast City Lifeguard Service
  • opening_hours=* - These opening hours should reflect the actual times that a lifeguard may be found on duty, either daily e.g. Mo-Su 08:00-17:00, or the time of year that they are there e.g. Oct-Apr Sa-Su 06:00-17:00

Additionally, you could also tag the applicable URL where the current opening hours can be looked up with opening_hours:url=
For lifeguard=yes, if their duty hours are different to the posted opening hours of the facility they are at, add opening_hours:lifeguard=*


00 1047 Lifeguard station - Westkapelle (NL).jpg
A lifeguard rescue station
Tag area of building as: emergency=lifeguard + lifeguard=rescue_station
00 1252 DLRG-Station - Lifeguard station.jpg
A lifeguard tower
Tag as node: emergency=lifeguard
Possibly include lifeguard=tower
PALS Lifeguards on Sandspit Beach.jpg
Mobile lifeguards on patrol
Add tag lifeguard=yes to existing feature


An appropriate possible rendering scheme for this tag could be a red and yellow flag, which I believe is an international symbol for lifeguards. Alternatively, the proposed rendering for emergency=life_ring could also be used here.

Features/Pages affected

Proposed deprecated tags

The following tags should all be deprecated and their existing usage all be merged under this tag



To be deprecated
To be deprecated
emergency=lifeguard_base emergency=lifeguard_tower emergency=lifeguard_platform emergency=water_rescue_station

External discussions


Please comment on the discussion page.