Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
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 3. In this episode, SpongeBob becomes a lifeguard at Goo Lagoon.



The episode begins 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 he 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 a serious business of rescuing people.

"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 slaps SpongeBob 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.

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 he returns their hotdog. SpongeBob rows the boat out to the ocean, but the frantic Patrick destroys it until he realizes his actions before he and SpongeBob both start drowning, with Patrick beating SpongeBob up to stay afloat. As they say their goodbyes, Larry arrives in time to pull them up from the ankle-deep lagoon.

"Ow! Butt cramps!"

Realizing that SpongeBob doesn't know how to swim, 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, as the episode ends.




 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Surfin' Summer (B) - Richard Myhill [Title card]
  Beach Party - The White Caps, 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 6 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Please do not land flying ice cream trucks on the bathers."]
  ? Vibes - Nicolas Carr ["Hey!"]
  Saxaboogie - The White Caps, 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 6 - 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 [Do not cross changes to Ice cream]
  Menace [#42] - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin ["Cramp!"]
  Danger Sign - Harry Bluestone, Emil Cadkin [Patrick drowning]
  Dramatic Impact 3 - Ivor Slaney ["... Patrick isn't drowning!"]
  12th 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 1 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Goodbye, Patrick!"]
  Beach Party - The White Caps, Harry Bluestone [ending]




SpongeBob live-action costume with his normal clothes.

  • This is the fourth episode in which, at no point, SpongeBob wears his normal clothes, not counting the live-action SpongeBob costume. 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.[citation needed]
  • This was the first episode to be written by Sam Henderson.
  • The grunts that Larry makes would later appear in the online game Reef Rumble.
  • The shark father was previously seen in the episode "MuscleBob BuffPants" selling Anchor Arms.
  • In the 2012 commercial for General Mills breakfast cereals, a clip of SpongeBob sucking up all of the water is used to advertise their SpongeBob squirters in specially marked boxes of brands.[4]
  • The SpongeBob mascot shown in numerous Nickelodeon theme parks appears in this episode.
  • Earlier in the episode, 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.
  • Along with "The Algae's Always Greener," this episode preceded the premiere of the Nickelodeon animated series ChalkZone.[5]
  • The sea monster in the episode is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
  • This is the first episode to play the tracks "Beach Party," "Danger Sign," and "Dramatic Impact (1)."
  • In the Middle East airing, the scene where SpongeBob and Patrick check on their "tan" is removed.[citation needed]
  • In the Polish dub, this episode's title is "SpongeBob ratownik," which translates to "SpongeBob the Lifeguard."
  • Innuendo: SpongeBob and Patrick looking down their pants at the beginning of the episode. Also, Patrick's speech about lifeguards, and the fish responding "Dude, put that thing away, there are like, children here."
  • When the beach goers go back in the water, shark fins can be seen swimming around the fish in the lower right, either implying SpongeBob was right that there were sharks in there or it's possibly those of the shark family.
  • This is Larry the Lobster's first major appearance.
  • Comcast/Xfinity call this episode "Spongeguard on duty," missing the Capital G.
  • There are two DVDs based off this episode. They are SpongeGuard on Duty and Sponge In Service. The latter is Greek.

Cultural references

  • The episode's title is a reference to the "Lifeguard on Duty" beach signs.
  • When the crowd of people is running while holding Larry, they can be faintly heard singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."


  • At the end of the montage a bubble transition appears in there's a little bit of a blue screen at the bottom by Rough Draft Korea, which was made sometime in 2001.
  • 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 turns normal.

  • When Patrick smashes an anchor on SpongeBob's head, the cream on the latter's nose disappears for a frame or two.
  • When SpongeBob sees that Patrick is drowning, he breaks the lens of his binoculars, but the lens is back after SpongeBob sees Patrick drowning.
  • In the scene where Larry saves Bill, a crowd of fish is worried. However, Bill himself is in the crowd. This could be a different Bill who looks the same.
  • When SpongeBob hands out ice cream, the white fish is shown with a pink ice cream cone in his hands. In the next shot of him, the ice cream is white. In the same scene, Nat Peterson is shown with a red popsicle in his hands. In the next shot of him, the popsicle is blue.
  • During Larry's line "Let's go, guys," when he says "Let's," SpongeBob lip syncs to what Larry says.
  • After Larry says "Very good. You fellas are learning fast.," his mouth does not close.



On Duty 🏖️ in 5 Minutes SpongeBob


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