Kim, S.-G., 2021. Measures to improve the Korean national lifeguard qualification system: A qualitative review. In: Lee, J.L.; Suh, K.-S.; Lee, B.; Shin, S., and Lee, J. (eds.), Crisis and Integrated Management for Coastal and Marine Safety. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue No. 114, pp. 623–627. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Maritime distress incidents requiring lifesaving interventions are increasing annually in Korea. This study aimed to compare and analyze two current Korean systems: “lifeguard” and “national lifeguard” systems —the latter established in 2017—to search for areas that need improvement and propose revision measures using a literature analysis on the qualification system and in-depth interviews with eight experts. Qualitative analysis of the interviews and literature review resulted in five suggested improvement measures. First, for an effective qualification training system, training and evaluation sites must be diversified; clauses on marine practice must be added to the qualification procedure. Second, the current qualification system lacks specific age requirements and must be revised to reflect the appropriate age for practicing lifeguards. Third, a curriculum and evaluation must be introduced to train specialized national lifeguard instructors. Fourth, the current qualification system must be revised to integrate lifeguard and national lifeguard systems and classify national lifeguards as class 1 and other lifeguards as class 2. Fifth, broader acknowledgment of the national qualification would encourage lifeguards to utilize such qualifications to find employment. The data and recommendations produced by this study may be important to the ongoing development of the national qualification system for lifeguards in Korea.