Talk:Proposed features/Lifeguard

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About proposal

This proposal suits me perfectly. It's good work. --Gendy54 (talk) 21:38, 28 February 2021 (UTC)

Current Tagging

There are currently 5 separate tags to map the location that a lifeguard may be found:


I am proposing officially approving emergency=lifeguard (which, incidentally, is the current default preset in iD for "lifeguard"), and which would then be used for all specific lifeguard facilities; also deprecating the rest of the existing lifeguard tags; and merging them all together under emergency=lifeguard.

lifeguard=* also exists as a simple yes/no, which can be added to such locations as beaches, swimming pools, water parks etc to show that there will be a lifeguard on duty, but that they may not be at a fixed location. This tag would also be approved for continued use in that situation.

office=lifeguard is also suggested to map the administration offices / buildings of Lifeguard Services, but where a lifeguard may not necessarily be found.

Reasons for Deprecating Tags

All of these tags currently either have a status of "in use" or "unspecified", none of them were originally apparently ever discussed, proposed or voted on, they all have only relatively low usage, most of them have only minimal definitions, & are they are all really only multiple ways of describing the same feature.

Copying comments from Tagging list
this is not a good reason to deprecate tag.
this is often causing various issues but is not a good reason to deprecate tag
definitely not a valid reason to deprecate tags
proposed new tags have even lower usage
is there anything wrong or problematic with them
that is not fixable by documenting how this tags are used?
On Tue, 2 Mar 2021 at 09:56, Mateusz Konieczny
Why keep 5 tags describing essentially the same feature when 1 or 2 would do? --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:56, 4 March 2021 (UTC)


From the limited description, and from my own experience, a lifeguard platform is only a high seat, where a lifeguard sits to get an elevated view of swimmers, or any dangers, in the water. These platforms are usually re-positioned daily in the centre of a safe swimming area, and so are usually found in a different position each day. As they are therefore essentially mobile, they probably shouldn't be mapped in OSM at all?


This tag would appear to be a direct translation of the German term Wasserrettungsstation referring to a lifeguard station. Unfortunately though, it is not a term in British-English, so should probably never have been introduced? "Water rescue" is certainly a valid term, as is "rescue station", but not the three together - to me, at least, that term suggests some form of water recycling plant, possibly designed to stop fresh water from reaching the ocean?

List comments
emergency=water_rescue_station and emergency=lifeguard_tower serve similar purpose but are not the same feature.
In what way do you consider that they're different? --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:55, 4 March 2021 (UTC)
BTW, it is unclear to me what you propose as replacement for emergency=water_rescue_station
On Tue, 2 Mar 2021 at 09:56, Mateusz Konieczny
It would depend on the size of the facility. Smaller WRS would become a lifeguard_tower, while bigger stations would be a base / rescue_station --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:55, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

I would expect water rescue station to be a base of operation, unlikely to have someone looking at people there and rather contain equipment including boats for rescue at larger range.

I would expect lifeguard tower to have direct lifeguard presence during swimming season, looking at people in the water.

I have not looked at actual use, if they are few facto synonyms then situation is different.

But it is not mentioned in proposal

4 Mar 2021 at 18:31, Mateusz Konieczny

Sorry, but isn't that what I've proposed?
"lifeguard=rescue_station: a building which lifeguards operate from, and where equipment, vehicles etc are often stored
lifeguard=tower: an elevated tower used by lifeguards to watch and supervise swimmer"
Another example of a rescue-station / base: - this end of the building is the actual rescue base, where  vehicles, boats, boards etc are stored, it has a first aid room, and also accommodation for crews to stay overnight. They do not actually sit here & watch swimmers in the water as their patrol is located on the beach out the front of the base, but there will always be trained personnel found here during operational hours. The other end of the building is the social side of things with a restaurant, bar, function centre etc, open to the general public. There is also a separate lifeguard tower ~200 m away which is manned on those days that the base is closed. --Fizzie41 (talk) 02:12, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

lifeguard_base and lifeguard_tower

I willingly grant that these are valid tags to describe a main lifeguard building, where rescue equipment, vehicles etc are usually stored; or the elevated, enclosed lookout / observation tower where lifeguards are frequently located.

The main advantage of deprecating these tags, and merging them into emergency=lifeguard will be neatness, and the benefit of consolidating multiple tags into a single all-encompassing one. [unsigned]. Unsigned as it was part of the original proposal! --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:09, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

What about a lifeguard=base that is used to watch and supervise swimmers but that is not a tower as put on top of a cliff or a dune like this one (note: the place was moved due to erosion, but the principle remains the same: a pre-fab and a kind of deck on top of the dune, towers that follow the tide and prefabs behind the dune for heavier equipment).
Bit hard to say without actually seeing it, bit I would think that =tower would still work, possibly with =base for the area over the back of the dunes --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:09, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
lifeguard=base;tower? Isn't it better to use man_made=tower for towers? And to use lifeguard=supervised or similar where the lifeguards monitor the place?
I did make that suggestion when we were still discussing amendments to the existing lifeguard page, but consensus was that it wasn't the best option? --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:09, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
As said by others the place tower/platform is moved for places with large tidal areas, so as written for beach resorts Swimming_and_bathing#Beach_resort, supervised=yes/interval (life guard) (BTW this page may need an update depending on the final proposal) --Nospam2005 (talk)
Also discussed on that page. Problem is that "supervised" doesn't really have a definition - does it mean a lifeguard on duty / someone is there to set out couches, towels & umbrellas / a police presence to prevent theft ... ? --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:09, 10 March 2021 (UTC)
But lifeguard=supervised? --Nospam2005 (talk) 21:38, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

That's the problem - does it? says "and supervised=* to indicate if the beach has a lifeguard (yes, no, interval - in the format of opening_hours=*)", but says "that there is a person who supervises the place. This means that the person observes the place, makes sure that everyone obeys to the rules, that nobody is harmed, and that nothing is damaged" & gives 7 different examples of "supervision", including lifeguards, police, school- & railway-crossings & cleaners. Incidentally TI says it's used 231000 times, but of that, 194500 (84%) are "no", while 35000 (15%) are "yes", there are no combinations with lifeguard, & only 2 with beach! To my mind, it's not a very good key, because it can mean too may different things? --Fizzie41 (talk) 22:35, 10 March 2021 (UTC)

So emergency=lifeguard, lifeguard=supervised, supervised=interval in the format of opening_hours, would enable to describe properly the monitored area. IMHO, it's more important to the public to know what is monitored than from where. Especially when the "from where" follows the tide!
opening_hours=* would not be correct (the beach is not closed, just not monitored) - I'm fine with opening_hour on the building if any.
Which I think the proposal covers with adding lifeguard=yes + opening_hours:lifeguard=* to the beach / swimming pool etc? --Fizzie41 (talk) 00:17, 12 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I oversaw that while reading again the proposal, but the trend in OSM tagging schema is to use tags and sub-tags as I propose, not to use namespaces as you propose. It's not a blocker anyway. --Nospam2005 (talk) 20:45, 12 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, making a bad tag clean or creating a new one... Here I clarify the who with a kind of higher tag (lifeguard), it could be done with other tags (police...) --Nospam2005 (talk) 21:46, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, "supervised" should be modified to say who is doing the supervision & at what times, but that's a problem for a later time & a different tag! --Fizzie41 (talk) 00:17, 12 March 2021 (UTC)

base and first aid

the base is also supposed to be able to offer first aid. True, but then in conflict with emergency=first_aid. So emergency=lifeguard;first_aid or do we assume emergency=lifeguard + lifeguard=base implies first aid? Or should we be explicit first_aid=yes? --Nospam2005 (talk)
Why do you think it's in conflict? Including first_aid=yes on either the base or tower would certainly work, or placing a separate node inside the base building for emergency=first_aid. In Australia, at least, (& I would think the same internationally?) all lifeguards / lifesavers must have a minimum of a Senior First Aid + CPR Certificates, so if anybody is injured, the first thing to do would be to go to the first person you can see in uniform & ask them for help, rather than trying to find an actual first aid room! --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:25, 10 March 2021 (UTC)


I had originally proposed tagging lifeguard administration offices as office=lifeguard. Following a discussion, I've now changed that to lifeguard=office --Fizzie41 (talk) 05:41, 1 March 2021 (UTC)

Following further discussions on the Tagging list, I've now changed it back to office=lifeguard! --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:17, 4 March 2021 (UTC)

lifeguard=base v lifeguard=rescue_station

During the discussion on the Tagging list, I am starting to think that lifeguard=base, is actually a better option than lifeguard=rescue_station? Open to any thoughts one way or the other. --Fizzie41 (talk) 02:17, 5 March 2021 (UTC)

=rescue_station now changed to =base --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:37, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

Seasonal lifeguard stations

How would we map seasonal lifeguard stations, like those just set up in the summer, for example? --AntMadeira (talk) 22:35, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

From the proposal:
"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=*"
Assuming it's approved, I'm more than happy to take advice on a better way of showing them though! --Fizzie41 (talk) 22:45, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
That may be fine for features that stay there all year, but, in many cases, features are completely removed after summer. Maybe a good key for this would be seasonal=yes --AntMadeira (talk) 23:11, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Thanks. Yes, that would work in conjunction with opening hours. Noted! --Fizzie41 (talk) 23:28, 14 March 2021 (UTC) One thing with that though - does the "tower" go back in the same spot next summer, or does it go to a different spot on the beach? If it's to the same spot, then that's fine as a semi-permanent location, but if it's different, then it shouldn't be mapped as a tower, rather lifeguard=yes together with seasonal and hours on the beach itself. --Fizzie41 (talk) 23:32, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Normally, things are placed in the same spot, unless there were physical changes (a river beach, for example, where the place was changed due to heavy rains in winter). But both seasonal=yes and lifeguard=yes should do the trick, depending on the situation. --AntMadeira (talk) 23:58, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
That's exactly the case I mentioned previously on this page: the pre-fab container is removed after the summer and put back if the dune hasn't moved too much. @AntMadeira:, seasonal=yes is a good idea.
The previous position, is kept in OSM as the Cadastre - French land registry - still displays this demolished building. --Nospam2005 (talk) 21:33, 15 March 2021 (UTC)

I will be away

Thanks very much for your support so far, & also for some very helpful comments that will be incorporated into the final page. I've just found out that I will be away for the next week, starting tomorrow, & as I probably won't have any internet access while gone, I'll be unable to respond to any questions / comments.

If you have any, please continue to ask them, & I will respond when I get back. If necessary, I may,  at that time, extend the voting period for a "few" extra days. --Fizzie41 (talk) 01:19, 23 March 2021 (UTC)