This is the page about the episode. For other uses, see SpongeGuard on Duty (disambiguation).
If you were looking for the article about the DVD, then see SpongeGuard on Duty (DVD).
If you were looking for the article about the VHS, then see SpongeGuard on Duty (VHS).

"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's 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.

041b - SpongeGuard on Duty (308)

"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 water. When asked what's 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 water, 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 water, 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 water, where he gets cramps and starts drowning.

041b - SpongeGuard on Duty (354)

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 the parking lot and rows it out, but Patrick destroys it and they both start drowning. As they say their goodbyes, Larry arrives in time to pull them up from the ankle-deep water. 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, 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]
  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 Sting (b) - 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 water]
  Steel Sting (b) - 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]
  Dramatic Cue (g) - Ronald Hanmer [SpongeBob and Patrick drowning]
  Steel Licks (d) - Jeremy Wakefield ["Goodbye, Patrick!"/"Goodbye, ice cream!"]
  Beach Party - Harry Bluestone [ending]



  • As of August 28, 2017, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 295 ratings by users.[1] users give this episode a 8.8/10 based on 146 votes.[2]


  • This episode was formerly called "LifeguardBob HelpPants," and "Summer of Sponge."
  • Ironically, one should not immediately dive into the water to save someone from drowning, and should instead find another way to save them, as they will risk drowning themselves otherwise.
  • This is the first episode where Larry is a lifeguard. In "Ripped Pants," "Walking Small," and "Bubble Buddy," another fish was a lifeguard.
    • Frank, the other lifeguard still appears in episodes so it is possible that they are both lifeguards or that this episode takes place before the other episodes.
  • 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." The third is "The Fry Cook Games."
  • On some TV guides, the airdate for this episode is not listed.
  • The shark father was also 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.
  • In the later episode "A Life in a Day," Larry is shown as a lifeguard again.
  • The title card design shares the appearance of the title card design for the later episode "Shellback Shenanigans."
  • The SpongeBob mascot shown in numerous Nick theme parks appears in this episode.
  • Interestingly, while at the beginning, SpongeBob was shown struggling with a barbell made of two soda cups, yet later, he was shown capable of lifting an entire boat and holding it up with one hand.
  • The Sea Monster in the episode was voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
  • In the Middle East airing, the scene where SpongeBob and Patrick check on their "tan" is removed. This is probably because SpongeBob peeking into his shorts is considered inappropriate there.
    • Interestingly, in this wiki, the image about Patrick looking into his butt had been temporarily censored from this wiki, 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" premiered.
  • Even though the setting of the episode and the entire show is under water and Goo Lagoon is actually made of goo, not water, the 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..." timecard in the episode "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve."
  • In the Polish dub, the 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." However, he could simply have imagined it as opposed to not reading it properly and in other episodes, he can read just fine.
  • This episode takes place before "Barnacle Face" and "Pet Sitter Pat" because SpongeBob is seen swimming in both episodes.


  • When Larry lifts the board with fish on it, two of them fell off of their faces first.
  • The old man who Larry tells to leave (and who is implied to be Larry's father) 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 is looking 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 changed color every time Patrick hit him with the anchor.
  • When SpongeBob sees that Patrick is drowning, he breaks the lens of his binoculars, but the lens is back after Patrick finishes shouting.
  • When Patrick comes out of the Port-O-Head, there is toilet paper sticking out of his shorts. When he gets near the lagoon, it is gone.
  • In the scene when Larry saves Bill, a crowd of fish are worried, however, Bill himself was in the crowd.
  • When SpongeBob hands out ice cream, White Fish is shown with a pink ice cream. 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 again seen 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 said "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 SpongeBob's nose disappears for a frame or two.


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