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Abstract

A momentary lapse in supervision can be costly when it comes to lifeguarding. Drowning is quick and quiet, and can happen in a matter of seconds so distractions can be deadly. Lifeguards are trained to watch the water and avoid distractions. The biggest distraction causing lapses in supervision is often in their heads. Lifeguards might be looking at patrons in the water, with rescue tube in hands, but not really seeing the patrons in the water due to internal noise. Internal noise is a huge distraction because it is difficult for lifeguards to recognize when they are distracted by internal noise, usually impossible for others to see, and a challenge to manage. We define internal noise as thoughts and emotions that distract an individual from a task. This paper presents results from our international survey with 839 lifeguard participants, uncovering the types and frequencies of internal noise that distract lifeguards from their lifesaving job.

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