Lifeguard towers are utilized by many beach lifeguard agencies, such as California State Lifeguard and LA County Lifeguard Service, to optimize the effectiveness and efficiency of their lifeguards. These towers are often constructed Lifeguard certification feet above ground in order to allow the life guards increased line of sight. This elevated position allows lifeguards to see over obstructive objects such as beach umbrellas, canopies, and other distractions. This high up position also allows life guards to better identify rip currents and other possible hazards.
Another advantage is its visibility to the public. Because the life guard tower stands out on a beach, it allows the public to know exactly where lifesavers are located. This gives the public a sense of security because in case of an emergency they know where to easily find lifeguard personnel.
These life guard towers are extensively equipped with lifesaving and medical gear. The lifesaving equipment generally consists of several lifeguard buoys, lifeguard paddleboard, tow rope, signs, binoculars, extra sets of rescue fins, and communication devices (phone and/or radio). The tower's medical equipment typically consists of a full first aid kit, oxygen kit, backboard, and occasionally an AED. This vast array of equipment allows lifeguards to be fully prepared to respond to aquatic and medical emergencies.
The standard beach lifesaver will often be stationed at a tower. There is often one lifesaver per tower; however it is not uncommon to have 2-3 lifeguards stationed in a lifeguard tower on busy days. In some life guard agencies, lifeguards are not permitted to leave the lifeguard tower area unless they are performing a preventative action or responding to a medical or aquatic emergency. In other lifeguard agencies, lifeguards are allowed to temporarily leave the tower and do routine beach patrols on foot as long as they are equipped with a communication device. When a lifeguard is first hired, they will almost always start off their lifeguard career as a tower lifeguard. This tower is the first defense against medical and aquatic emergencies. Tower life guards are constantly scanning the ocean in order to identify possible hazards and at-risk swimmers.