Back in the day, the event used to begin with a test of physical strength which involved a jump off the Flagship’s pier into the Gulf using rescue equipment and technique. All lifeguards would remain in the water until their last teammate has jumped. Then it was time for a swim to shore and a vigorous run down Seawall Boulevard.
Then, the lifeguards are instructed to run down the jetties along the beach followed by push-ups, sit-ups, the dreaded “Hover Maneuver” and other tests of physical strength. After another jog in the sand and a rope climb up the seawall, the crew was off to the sand pit, which they had to maneuver through with speed. More running down the jetties followed, and then jetty jumping again using rescue technique and equipment.
After several swimming laps, the lifeguards were given orders to pick up rescue paddleboards and paddle out to a designated buoy. Once they paddled back to shore, they successfully completed the “Night Swim”.
Post hurricane Ike, the Flagship is unsafe to jump, but the Night Swim still combines the other challenges as before. Every year the course is unique.
Returning Lifeguards participate alongside lifeguard candidates in this ultimate test of physical fitness. The public is always invited to watch this feat of physical stamina and true lifeguarding skill.