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 and closes it down, but he can't swim and has to find a way to rescue Patrick when he starts to drown in the lagoon.



One day at Goo Lagoon, SpongeBob and Patrick are sunbathing. SpongeBob notices the adoration that the lifeguard, Larry the Lobster, receives, and fantasizes about how "cool" it would be if he was a lifeguard himself, but Patrick has no fondness for lifeguards. After being told to conceal his large gut by another beach-goer, Patrick 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 such collision later, Larry helps SpongeBob up and sees that 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, causing SpongeBob to realize too late that the role of a lifeguard is a serious one that involves rescuing people from mortal danger.

"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 cannot help but imagine the sea of swimmers in the lagoon as a sea of tombstones 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 claims that sharks have infested the lagoon, a comment that does not sit well with a family of sapient sharks in the crowd. He then raves about a sea monster, and is then confronted by an actual 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 has been in the restroom, runs out in search of ice cream when SpongeBob gloats about how his trick makes him superior to Larry. 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 lagoon, but the frantic Patrick tears it apart while flailing his arms. Upon realizing his actions, he and SpongeBob both start drowning, with Patrick actively harming 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 does not know how to swim, Larry sets him and Patrick to work practicing their swimming in a kiddie pool. They both somehow wind up with butt cramps, with Patrick still lamenting his lack of ice cream, as the episode ends.




 ) 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 7 - 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 7 - 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 Licks 4 - 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 was "Ripped Pants," the second was "Walking Small," and the third was "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.
  • This is Incidental 30A's only appearance in season 3.
  • The shark father was previously seen in the episode "MuscleBob BuffPants" in the in-universe advertisement for Anchor Arms, as the a picture of the spokesperson before he started using the product.
  • 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 costume worn in numerous Nickelodeon theme parks appears in this episode during SpongeBob's fantasy.
  • 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," "Saxaboogie," "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 dangerous sharks in there, or the fins belong to the sapient sharks who feel insulted by SpongeBob's warnings.
  • This is the first episode where Larry the Lobster's plays a major role.
  • Comcast/Xfinity listings miscapitalize the title of this episode as "Spongeguard on duty."
  • There are two DVDs named after (and featuring) this episode, one for the North American and British markets, and and one for the Greek market.
  • The French version translates to "The lifeguard who is afraid of water."[citation needed]
  • During the SpongeBob vs. The Goo marathon, this episode was paired with "Sand Castles in the Sand."[6]
  • According to production art, this episode was originally called "Summer of Sponge."

Cultural references

  • The episode's title is a reference to beach signs which say "Lifeguard on Duty."
  • 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 is 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 visibly lowers his arms as he gives it to them.
  • In the shot where the sea monster asserts his people's strides in science in literature, Annette's hair missing.
    • It is not Evelyn, however, because two shots later and for the rest of the episode, Annette has her hair back.

SpongeBob's nose turns normal.

  • During the montage where he enjoys his "duties" as lifeguard, SpongeBob is shown struggling to lift 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.
  • 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, his eyes burst through and break the lenses of his binoculars, but the lenses are back when SpongeBob announces his intentions to rescue Patrick.
  • 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," SpongeBob's lips also move to, "Let's."
  • After Larry says, "Very good. You fellas are learning fast," his mouth closes very briefly and takes on a similar shape to when he speaks for the rest of the shot, despite no further dialog.



On Duty 🏖️ in 5 Minutes SpongeBob


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