YMCA Lifeguard Information

The Y believes that preventing an accident and saving a life is worth the hours of training and dedication essential to becoming a competent lifeguard. YMCA-certified lifeguards have a serious responsibility to prevent accidents and handle emergencies properly. It is imperative that lifeguards and aquatic safety assistants are physically trained, mentally alert, and have the maturity to safely guard an aquatic area. We expect you to demonstrate your maturity at all times during classroom and pool instruction by:

  • Participating in ALL class, pool, and practice sessions.
  • Arriving promptly and prepared with a picture ID or other proof of age.
  • Presenting a positive attitude and courteous class conduct.
  • Making an appointment with the instructor when you have difficulty understanding the material presented or if you have specific testing needs.

To participate in the YMCA lifeguard course, you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Be at least 16 years old by the last day of the scheduled course.
  • Pass the following Physical Competency Requirements (conducted in class on the first day):
    • Phase 1 – Tread water for 2 minutes – Swim 100 yards of front crawl
    • Phase 2 – Swim 50 yards of each:
      1. Front crawl with the head up
      2. Sidestroke YMCA Lifeguard V6 Instructor Resource Guide 6
      3. Breaststroke
      4. Breaststroke with the head up
      5. Elementary backstroke kick with hands on the chest – Perform a feet first surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water (or maximum depth of training facility). Then swim underwater for 15 feet.
    • Phase 3 – Participants will start in the water at the shallow end and perform the following:
      1. Sprint for approximately 60 feet and then perform an arm over-arm surface dive in 8 to 10 feet of water (or maximum depth of training facility).
      2. Pick up an object (dive ring) from the bottom of the pool, surface and tread water for at least 1 minute with legs only, and then replace the object back on the bottom of the pool where it was found.
      3. Surface and swim the remaining length to the end of the pool and hoist yourself out of water without using a ladder or other assistance.
      4. Immediately begin compression on an adult manikin for 1 minute or 100 compressions; stand and listen to directions from instructor.

American Red Cross Lifeguarding Courses

The purpose of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course is to provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services personnel take over.

Our Lifeguard courses are blended learning classes. Blending learning classes require online pre-work to be completed before your first day of class. The online portion of this class takes 4-6 hours to complete. Once you are registered for class you will be sent a link to the class.

Course Requirements:

To enroll in the Lifeguarding course, you must be at least 15 years old before the last scheduled class session.

To participate in the course, you must be able to pass a prerequisite skills evaluation that includes the following:

  • Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only your legs.
  • Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds.
  • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Your face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
  • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
  • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object while keeping your face at or near the surface so you are able to get a breath. You should not swim the distance under water.
  • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

To successfully complete the course, you must attend the entire course, participate in all skill sessions/drills, activities and scenarios, demonstrate competency in all required skills and scenarios, and pass the final written exams with a minimum grade of 80 percent.

The practice sessions will require some strenuous physical activity. You are encouraged to check with your health care professional before participating in the practice sessions. If a medical condition or disability exists that might prevent participation in the activities, or there are questions about fully participating in the Lifeguarding course, please contact me to discuss this before the course begins.

Upon successful completion of the course, learners will receive a 2 year "Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED” digital certificate. CPR Pro is only good for 1 year.

Course Fees:

  • American Red Cross Lifeguard, Full Course: $275.00 for Members, $380.00 for Non-Members
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard, Re-Certification Course: $150.00 for Members, $225.00 for Non-Members
  • American Red Cross LGI Update Course: $75.00 for all Participants

Lifeguarding categories