This is the page about the episode. For other uses, see SpongeGuard on Duty (disambiguation).

"SpongeGuard on Duty" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season three. In this episode, SpongeBob becomes a lifeguard.



At Goo Lagoon, SpongeBob and Patrick are sunbathing. SpongeBob notices the adoration that the lifeguard, Larry the Lobster, receives. He fantasizes about how cool it would be if he was a lifeguard himself, but Patrick has no fondness for lifeguards and stomps off to the snack bar. SpongeBob declares that he is already as cool as Larry, and that nothing but an airborne ice cream truck striking him down could prove otherwise.

One collision later, Larry helps SpongeBob up and notices vanilla ice cream has been smeared on his nose. Thinking that it is sunscreen, and that therefore he is a lifeguard, Larry enlists the all-too-eager SpongeBob in helping him with his duties. As a lifeguard, SpongeBob becomes very popular and does many fun activities, and is happy to accept taking the second shift solo. However, Larry hears a swimmer drowning and saves him, and SpongeBob realizes too late that being a lifeguard is actually serious business of rescuing people.

SpongeGuard on Duty 081

"That's the last time I read and swim!"

His shift now over, Larry heads off for the tanning booth, leaving SpongeBob, who cannot swim, in charge of the beach. SpongeBob tries to laugh off his fears, but can't help but imagine the sea of swimmers in the lagoon as a sea of graves instead. In a panic, he alerts all the fish to an "emergency" and orders them out of the lagoon. When asked what is happening, he declares that sharks have infested the lagoon, a comment that does not sit well with a kindly shark family in the crowd. He then raves about a sea monster, who gives SpongeBob a slap in the face. The frustrated crowd then disperses and heads back to the lagoon, much to SpongeBob's dismay.

Stressed out from watching the beach-goers engaging in risky activities, SpongeBob resorts to luring everyone out of the lagoon with free ice cream. Once everyone has some to eat, SpongeBob points out that they must now wait one hour to re-enter the lagoon, and binds them with police tape to enforce this rule. Patrick, who had been in the restroom, runs out in search of the promised ice cream. Misreading the police tape as a sign for ice cream, he breaks through it to go into the lagoon, where he gets cramps and starts drowning.

SpongeGuard on Duty 088

While the crowd tries to alert SpongeBob to this real emergency, he initially refuses to believe them. However, he eventually sees Patrick and springs into action, desperate to find a way to save him without having to swim. He confiscates a boatmobile from a couple in the parking lot, though returns their hotdog. SpongeBob rows the boat out to the lake, but the frantic Patrick destroys it until he realizes his actions before he and SpongeBob both start drowning with Patrick beating SpongeBob up. As they say their goodbyes, Larry arrives in time to pull them up from the ankle-deep lagoon.

SpongeGuard on Duty 137

Having realized SpongeBob is no lifeguard, Larry sets him and Patrick to work practicing their swimming in a kiddie pool. They both wind up with butt cramps because of their lack of ability to swim, with Patrick still lamenting his lack of ice cream.




 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Surfin' Summer (b) - Richard Myhill [title card]
  Beach Party - Harry Bluestone [opening at Goo Lagoon/"Hey, it's Larry, the lifeguard."/"Hows's the tubage?"]
  Facing the Challenge - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob imagines himself as a lifeguard]
  Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["I'm cool."]
  Dramatic Impact 2 - Ivor Slaney [lightning]
  Dramatic Impact 1 - Ivor Slaney [flying ice cream truck]
  Steel Licks (h) - Jeremy Wakefield ["Please do not land flying ice cream trucks on the bathers."]
  Vibe Q Sting - Nicolas Carr ["Hey!"]
  Saxaboogie - Harry Bluestone [SpongeBob and Larry patrolling the beach]
  Advance Attack - Sam Fonteyn [Larry rescues someone drowning]
  Advance Attack Alt. End - Sam Fonteyn ["That's the last time I read and swim."]
  South Pacific Island II - Victor Cavini [Larry leaves SpongeBob in charge]
  On Fire - Gregor F. Narholz [SpongeBob orders everyone out of the lagoon]
  Steel Licks (h) - Jeremy Wakefield [everyone goes back in]
  Dangerous A - Mladen Franko [SpongeBob panicking]
  Dangerous C - Mladen Franko ["Free ice cream!"]
  Stars and Games - Alf Saro [everyone eating ice cream]
  Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield ["Huh?"]
  Menace [#42] - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["Cramp!"]
  Danger Sign - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin [Patrick drowning]
  Dramatic Impact 3 - Ivor Slaney ["... Patrick isn't drowning!"]
  Twelfth Street Rag - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob trying to rescue Patrick/"Help, I'm drowning! I've got butt cramps! I want ice cream and now it’s dark!"]
  Dramatic Cue (g) - Ronald Hanmer [SpongeBob and Patrick drowning]
  Steel Licks (d) - Jeremy Wakefield ["Goodbye, Patrick!"]
  Beach Party - Harry Bluestone [ending]



  • As of September 10, 2018, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 379 ratings by users.[1] users give this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 147 votes.[2]




  • Although this episode premiered on March 22, 2002, it was made in 2001 according to the credits.
  • This episode premiered in Canada on June 21, 2002.
SpongeGuard on Duty 027
  • This is the first episode where Larry is a lifeguard. In "Ripped Pants," "Walking Small," and "Bubble Buddy," another fish is a lifeguard.
  • This is the fourth episode in which, at no point, SpongeBob wears his normal clothes. The first is "Ripped Pants," the second is "Walking Small," and the third is "The Fry Cook Games."
  • On some TV guides, the air date for this episode is not listed.
  • The shark father was previously seen in the episode "MuscleBob BuffPants" selling Anchor Arms.
  • Even though SpongeBob and Patrick live underwater, ironically, this episode shows that they cannot swim.
  • In the 2012 commercial for General Mills breakfast cereals, a clip of SpongeBob sucking up all of the goo is used to advertise their SpongeBob squirters in specially marked boxes of brands.
  • The SpongeBob mascot shown in numerous Nickelodeon theme parks appears in this episode.
  • While at the beginning, SpongeBob is shown struggling with a barbell made of two soda cups, yet later, he is shown capable of lifting an entire boat and holding it up with one hand.
  • The sea monster in the episode is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
  • In the Middle East airing, the scene where SpongeBob and Patrick check on their "tan" is removed.
    • On this wiki, the image showing Patrick looking into his butt had been temporarily censored, due to it not complying with the FANDOM (formerly Wikia) Terms of Use. This, however, did not apply to SpongeBob peeking into his shorts.
  • This episode premiered two years after "Texas" and "Walking Small."
  • Even though the setting of the episode and the entire show is underwater and Goo Lagoon is actually made of goo, said goo is referred to as "water" several times in the series, for example, when SpongeBob yells "Don't go into the water!"
  • The title card background for this episode is the same background as the "Uhhh..." time card in the episode "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve."
  • In the Polish dub, this episode's title is "SpongeBob ratownik," which translates to "SpongeBob the Lifeguard."
  • This episode hints that Patrick is so incredibly uneducated that he cannot even read properly, evidenced when he misreads the "Do not cross" isolation ribbon as "Ice cream."


  • When Larry lifts the board with fish on it, two of them fell off of their faces first.
  • The old man whom Larry tells to leave reappears as a beach person in a later scene.
  • When SpongeBob raises his arms to call the people for ice cream, he never lowers his arms as he gives it to them.
  • When the crowd looks up at the lifeguard tower when SpongeBob calls everyone out, Annette does not have any hair.
    • It is not Evelyn, however, because in the next shot and for the rest of the episode, Annette has her hair back.
  • SpongeBob's nose changes color every time Patrick hits him with the anchor.
  • When SpongeBob sees that Patrick is drowning, he breaks the lens of his binoculars, but the lens are back after Patrick finishes shouting.
  • When Patrick comes out of the Port-O-Head, there is toilet paper sticking out of his shorts, but when he gets near the lagoon, it is gone.
  • In the scene where Larry saves Bill, a crowd of fish are worried. However, Bill himself is in the crowd.
  • When SpongeBob hands out ice cream, the white fish is shown with a pink ice cream cone. In the next shot of him, the ice cream is white.
  • When SpongeBob hands out ice cream, Nat Peterson is shown with a red popsicle. In the next shot of him, the popsicle is blue.
  • Nancy Suzy Fish is seen leaving with Larry for his tanning, but is seen again later, sharing a hot dog with Gus in the parking lot.
  • Since Goo Lagoon is a lagoon, SpongeBob would not be able to drink all of the goo in Goo Lagoon, as more goo from another body of goo next to it would flow in.
  • Improper grammar: SpongeBob says "Ladies and gentlemen of the lagoon is closed."
    Proper grammar: SpongeBob should have said "Ladies and gentlemen, the lagoon is closed."
  • When Patrick smashes an anchor on SpongeBob's head, the ice cream on the latter's nose disappears for a frame or two.


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