FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Busy waterways and summer vacation provide the perfect opportunity for seasonal employment, and Fort Rucker offers certification courses to help jumpstart the process.

The sports, fitness and aquatics branch offers lifeguard certification courses, which start Feb. 9 for those interested in waterside employment during the summer.

Courses are available to anyone ages 15 and older. Cost is $125 for military or Department of Defense ID card holders and $150 for members of the general public. Participants can register at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center front desk by picking up a registration form and cancellation/refund policy. Participants must sign up no later than three days before the course start date.

"The Fort Rucker MWR (Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) Aquatics Branch is also still looking to hire lifeguards for the 2018 summer season," said Ryan Clark, Fort Rucker aquatics assistant manager. "We are offering a 50 percent reimbursement of training fees to the participants who take the course through MWR, apply and are selected for a position, and can work Memorial Day through Labor Day."

Participants will be required to pass certain prerequisites the first day before entering the course. Requirements include a non-stop swim of 550 meters, a two-minute tread above water using only legs, dive ring retrieval and a timed 20-meter brick retrieval swim.

The course provides the perfect opportunity to earn money during the summer, but it also provides other benefits, Clark said.

"Upon successful completion of our American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Program, the passing candidates will have a chance to receive a certification in Lifeguarding, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, AED, Bloodborne Pathogens, Waterpark Lifeguarding and Waterfront Lifeguarding," Clark said. "This training will prepare the candidates to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies, render aid and care to patrons, and prepare them to guard in various types of aquatic environments, such as swimming pools, lakes and water parks."

The course provides all the knowledge needed to become a lifeguard, but Clark said lifeguards will also be tasked with some little-known responsibilities.

"Lifeguards have many more duties and responsibilities than just sitting in a chair and watching people swim," he said. "To mention a few, the lifeguards that work for the Fort Rucker MWR Sports, Fitness and Aquatics Department are required to attend in-service training every other week to ensure their skills are sharp. They are responsible for completing water chemistry readings every two hours to ensure the water is safe and sanitary for patrons to enjoy. They must complete safety checks on the safety and rescue equipment that is used on a daily basis to make sure the team is prepared and have what they need to act in the event of an emergency."

The first courses take place Feb. 9-11 and 16-18. The next courses take place April 13-15 and 20-22. Classes are held Fridays from 5-9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Courses dates are also scheduled for spring break week, March 26-30, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For more information on lifeguard certification or employment with the aquatics branch, call 255-9162 or visit USAJobs.gov.