$100,000 Club: 86 Lifeguards Earn Over $100K Per Year

Nice Retirement! All L.A. County lifeguards earned total compensation of more than $100,000 last year.

Nice Benefits! Add in health and retirement, and 128 L.A. County lifeguards earned total compensation of over $100,000 last year.

Los Angeles County boasts the world’s largest professional lifeguard association. But most of the association’s 850 guards work seasonally. The incomes of the 150 year-round lifeguards can seem surprisingly rich to anyone raised on the hit 1990s TV show, Baywatch – or anyone who worked as a summer lifeguard at the local pool.  

Getting the exact number of Los Angeles County lifeguards was a bit of a challenge. We called up the Los Angeles County Fire Department. They transferred us to the Lifeguard Division in Manhattan Beach. That’s where we learned there are about 850 lifeguards but just 150 full-time lifeguards. The state controller’s website shows about 750 seasonal workers and about 120 full-timers. Transparent California shows over a thousand total lifeguards in 2015.

Here’s the list of the 10 highest paid lifeguards in LA County, which includes total pay and benefits. This list was pulled from the State Controller’s Office and Transparent California:

Name Job Title Total Pay and Benefits
Adam Uehara Captain $314,899.69
Daniel Douglas Captain $297,355.93
Fernando Boiteuz Assistant Chief $287,064.96
Steve Moseley Chief $278,033.31
Terry Yamamoto Section Chief $265,972.43
Kenichi Ballew-Haskett Captain $239,342.29
Remy Smith Captain $225,417.38
Jeffrey Horn Captain $225,211.22
Erik Albertson Section Chief $223,103.25
Michael McIlory Captain $220,720.37

There are 93 “Lifeguard Specialists” who earn an average total compensation of $148,000. At least 86 lifeguards earn salaries in excess of $100,000. Add in other benefits, and 128 lifeguards earn total compensation above $100,000. While we don’t know the details about lump pay and “other pay”, some individuals make excessive amounts in those categories.  You can see each lifeguard’s pay here.

The cost between the full-time and seasonal lifeguards is massive. The average total wages for a full-time lifeguard is $115,995, while a seasonal lifeguard is $14,092. The average full-time lifeguard has a benefit package of $47,281. A seasonal lifeguard has a benefits package of $2,046.

Though there is not much accumulated overtime in the group, one captain earned base pay of $114,204 – and clocked $125,864 in overtime.

10 replies
  1. Avatar
    talltalk says:

    obscene. the rip off of tax payers is obscene. not to mention the jobs lost by young people because of this stupid greed. life guarding was a job to fund college before the communists took over.

  2. Avatar
    Mark says:

    As a consumate follower of your content, Pension Tsunami and Transparent California data I would like to make a recommendation. Why cant all of the identified organizations (including HJTA) pool their resources and develop a legal team to pursue and prosecute corrupt union practices such as Pacific Grove’s pension funding ballot issue and Marin County Board of Supervisors CA Gov Code 7507 a-e violations. Torrance CA has the same violations-crowd fund your legal team & you will have alot of silent majority financial support. I am so tired of persons talking. Assemble a legal team – focus on one high impact corrupt pension funding event and establish a constrained pension funding process going forward then move on to the next corrupt union pension event. Pension costs are killing us taxpayers and deprecating my children’s future. Take these corrupt unions out at the knees – I rather bet my money on a smart conservative legal lawyer team with sufficient resources to change the status quo in this state vice throwing my money against politicians that are ourgunned and outspent by corrupt unions and corrupt politicians. As stated – Torrance is another corrupt governmental entity that violated CGC 7507 in awarding AB 400 retroactive pension increases to our Safety personnel. Torrance’s Police Dept’s Annual Pension Contribution (APC) as a % of payroll is the highest out of all of the ~3100 CalPERS agencies as of 2015 contribution rates. Our AVG APC per policeman as of July 1 2018 will be over $106,000 per policeman. We will be bankrupt in 4-8YRS. Concerned citizen that can document every statement articulated.

  3. Avatar
    Pierre says:

    Is there any possibility to open a Go Fund type group to finance the fight to return the Public Pensions to a reasonable level.

    Just think the number of Public Pensioners who when they die leave their offspring with Milllions of Dollars at the expense of the taxpayers.

    I’ll watch “UNION WATCH” hoping for an answer to this problem

  4. Avatar
    Kion says:

    Some education seems in order for some of you would be uninformed haters. Those listed are not the lifeguards in a tower you see everyday at the beach who are making 20 bucks an hour at most, and these “salaries,” are taken out of context with variables such as overtime worked and county health benefits attached. Those numbers are not even their gross salary, nor their pensionable income. Absent of mention are the benefits and pensions and overtime that State DMV workers, the Police, Fire, the harbor dept employees, county supervisors acquire etc etc etc. But the focus here is Lifeguards?! The job of a lifeguard simply doesn’t correlate to the “Baywatch” lifestyle you’ve seen on TV. When the surf is 15-20’ we have to enter the water and literally risk our lives amongst all sorts of hazards including jetties, piers, rocks, not even taking into considering the risks of being in the ocean in giant surf conditions, and as an aside almost all of us get skin cancer. Interesting and glaringly ignorant to focus on Lifeguards when there are countless individuals taking advantage of the system who are literally paper pushers and citation writers. Meanwhile we are literally plucking people from the grasp of death on a daily basis. And you’re smearing Lifeguards. Further: Pensions? We pay into them. They take a Huge % of our check each month. Its far from a free ride! The hasty and ignorant proclamation that “these guys are retiring and getting huge pensions at the sole expense of taxpayers!!…” is simply not reality, despite whether or not you choose the fingers in the ears approach to believing such shock value rhetoric. Enjoy your next day at the beach, and know that we will be there to rescue yourself or your kids if the need arises. The Ocean is a quick and silent killer.

  5. Avatar
    Philip Barnett says:

    The LA county lifeguards are an incredible organization that saves lives every single day. There are hundreds of thousands of people that would be very much DEAD if there wasn’t a lifeguard to pull them out of harms way. My father was a lifeguard for over 20 years and he saved more lives than I can count. They all deserve to get paid as much or maybe even more that they currently do. They are all hero’s except for the ones that don’t know enough about the ocean and are just in it for the money. I want to be a LA county guard because I want to help people while doing something that I love which is being at the beach. I have never known a person who is happy working at a boring desk job in an office building that is happy or loves what they’re doing.

  6. Avatar
    Paul B says:

    Just a little information to those that think that los angeles county ocean lifeguards are overpaid…

    I just retired from a 52 year part time ocean lifeguard career and I am a proud “Once an Ocean Lifeguard , always an Ocean Lifeguard”.

    While I moved away From the Los Angeles area to pursue another Career Over 30 yrs ago , I Continued working a few days a year as a part time lifeguard.

    For those of you that think we are overpaid, over the years I made 2,000+ rescues, some of them risking my life and health. I suffered several injuries while making rescues that trouble me now. I had days when I rescued over 50 people from drowning in a day. Lifeguards make thousands of preventions in order To keep the public safe. We also do rescues on boat distresses- the last week I worked before retiring, I had to rescue two guys on a sail boat that crashed a pier. Most of us are championship level swimmers and water polo players who are extremely fit and well trained in order to face situations that require outstanding fitness, strength,
    agility , intelligence and experience! The job we do is very tough at times when you get home you are dead tired

    We also do thousands of first aids A year, some of them while reviving someone. We return lost children to their parents, we manage the public, etc

    We should get paid well…the lifeguards that supervise us make more because they are encharged of several towers and many lifeguards. There are approx 8 times more part timers that work seasonally

    Most Part time LA Co lifeguards are paid between $22/hr up to $30 depending on seniority.

    Pension? What pension? As a part time with over 2,000 day lifeguarding Career my “pension“ was $5,000 Total that I paid into . Never used Much sick tIme or vacation time.

    It is insulting to hear the clueless comments…most of the comments are made by people who could not rescue a fly in their beer…please do me /yourself a favor, a go to the beach on a busy summer day in LA County , at El Porto, Manhattan Pier, Santa Monica or Zuma beaches when there is a summer swell and watch the heroic young men and women Making rescues all day !

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