The goal of this study is to explore the personality of experienced professional lifeguards in terms of Eysenck and Eysenck's PEN model of personality and Zuckerman's sensation seeking trait. A sample of 144 male professional lifeguards were contrasted with three different samples: (1) a general population sample; (2) a sample of individuals engaged in physically risky sports; and (3) a sample of prosocial physically risky professionals. It was found that lifeguards resembled most closely the prosocials followed by the sportsmen and finally the general population. The most frequent and largest differences between lifeguards and the comparison groups were found on extraversion, experience seeking, and neuroticism. The implications for lifeguard selection procedures and future research are discussed. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.