Dave McKenzie started working as a lifeguard at Nayland Pool at the tender age of 14 and 17 years later, he still thinks it is "the best job in the world".
The father of two "loves the water so much" that he manages Nayland Pool, Riverside Pool and volunteers as a beach lifeguard on the side for fun.
The 32-year-old said he loves working at the "best pools in the country" because there was so much variety.
He was a manager, a lifeguard, a swim school instructor, a gym assistant and a customer service worker extraordinaire.
It was not all fun and games, he said.
There was a lot of responsibility involved in ensuring people's safety.
"We have to be policeman from time to time." The requirement of not running around the pool was a theme that people often encountered, for example, he said.
Learning first aid skills was also required because there was always the risk of potential spinal injuries if someone were to fall over or incorrectly dive off of the diving boards.
Thankfully, lifeguards prevented a lot of these accidents, he said.
"We have had a few near misses over the years but nothing major, touch wood."
The job also required a lot of cleaning.
"I would be lying if I did not admit people peed in the pools, that is why we have chlorine."
But people should know that a special dye that turned bright blue if people urinated in pools was generally an urban myth.
It certainly existed, but not at Nayland Pool, he said.
While it was not as glamorous at what was presented in the likes of the television show, Baywatch, the job definitely had its perks, he said.
He loved being outside and dealing with customers regularly.
"You get a lot of satisfaction from seeing kids smile and having fun in the water."
There was nothing like seeing a child learning to swim the first time, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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