Rescue cans are floats made of hard plastic, with handles molded into the sides and rear. The rescue can is attached to a line and harness which is worn by the lifeguard.
The rescue can is the basic tool of the ocean lifeguard. While it is always optimal to have one floatation device for each victim, if necessary, a rescue can is able to support more than one victim, depending on the condition of the victims and the water. A rescue can shall be carried by every ocean lifeguard at all times when leaving the tower.
While working in a tower, a lifeguard will place the rescue can in the designated location. When leaving the tower for any reason, the lifeguard shall take the can. The absence of the rescue can from its rack or hook may be the only way a lifeguard in an adjacent tower will know the lifeguard assigned to a tower is not there.
When making a rescue, the lifeguard runs with the rescue can to the point chosen to enter the water. Before entering the water, the rescue can's shoulder strap is slipped over the lifeguard's head and diagonally across the chest, in a manner that allows the rescue can to trail on the lifeguard's breathing side.
When entering the water, the lifeguard should drop the can, letting it trail behind while running. When approaching the victim, the lifeguard should reassure the person that help is coming. When within four or five feet of the victim, stop and push the can toward the victim, instructing them to take hold of the can. The lifeguard should remain out of the victim's reach to avoid being attacked by a panicky or hysterical victim. Once the victim is calmed down, and has confidence in the ability of the can to float them, the lifeguard is ready to begin the return to the beach.
Care of the plastic can is minimal, but you should check the can, line, and shoulder strap to see if there are any signs of excess wear or cuts. Should there be such signs, request a new can.