Lifeguarding is an exciting and rewarding job that carries great
responsibility. Guards take courses and train hard for events they
hope will never happen and which they work hard to prevent.
National Lifeguards guards are always in training to keep their
skills, knowledge and fitness sharp. They are required to keep
other important certifications such as CPR and first aid
up-to-date. Some are trained in advanced treatments like using
oxygen or in the use of specialized equipment like defibrillators
and personal watercraft.
National Lifeguard is Canada's only nationally recognized
lifeguard certification program. National Lifeguard is a legal
certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country. It is the only
lifeguard certificate recognized by the province of Ontario for
lifeguarding public swimming pools.
National Lifeguard certification is available in four options:
Pool, Waterpark, Waterfront, and Surf. The National Lifeguard
Award Guide provides complete
details for National Lifeguard Instructors and candidates.
Prerequisites: Minimum 16 years of age. Bronze Cross
certification and Standard First Aid certification
(need not be current) from one of: Lifesaving Society, St. John
Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Ski Patrol.
National Lifeguard Pool certification is a prerequisite for the
Evaluation & certification: Current
National Lifeguard Instructors evaluate some items, but only
National Lifeguard Examiners may certifiy candidates. The
Lifesaving Society deems its certifications to be "current" for 24
months from the certification date.
Candidate recognition: Certification card.
Required reference material: Alert:
Lifeguarding in Action.
National Lifeguard Recertification:
National Lifeguard certification is current for 2 years and
is recertified by completing a National Lifeguard recertification
exam. The recertification may require 6 - 8 hr. depending on the
number of candidates. Check Find a Course for facilities offering
National Lifeguard recertification in your area.
The National Lifeguard recertification exam is your
opportunity to demonstrate your skills and recertify your award.
You are responsible for reviewing the required content and skills
and preparing yourself for the exam. Your exam is based on the
National Lifeguard Award curriculum. The required content for this
curriculum can be found in your Alert text and the
Canadian Lifesaving Manual. Candidates should
bring Alert, a whistle, barrier devices (gloves and pocket
mask) and proof of prerequisite (previous National
About the 2012 National Lifeguard Revisions
The Lifesaving Society's National Lifeguard certification is
Canada's professional lifeguard standard. Since it was formed, the
National Lifeguard training program has undergone periodic
The latest update - introduced in June 2012 - features revised
test items and performance standards and incorporates the most
recent international resuscitation guidelines.
The updated National Lifeguard curriculum is grounded in
important lifeguard competencies - judgment, knowledge, skill,
fitness - and is guided by the following principles:
- demonstrated need
- research evidence
- consistency with regulations in Canada
- consistency with international standards (e.g., ILS,
- Lifesaving Society values
The result is a comprehensive, Canada-wide, professional
lifeguard training standard.
candidate must hold the National Lifeguard Pool certification prior
to earning National Lifeguard Waterpark certification. Similarly, a
candidate must hold the Waterfront certification before earning
National Lifeguard Surf certification. National Lifeguard Pool and
Waterfront prerequisites remain unchanged - a minimum 16 years of
age and Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid certification (need not
Lifeguard fitness: Fitness is a
cornerstone of lifeguards' job responsibilities, enabling them to
remain vigilant, attentive and alert to signs of potential trouble,
and to respond safely and confidently in an emergency. The physical
standards have been updated in the revised National Lifeguard
curriculum to ensure National Lifeguards have the strength and
endurance required for their jobs. See National
Lifeguard - Pool, National Lifeguard -
Waterpark, National Lifeguard -
Waterfront and/or National Lifeguard - Surf for
specific changes and additions. Watch the National Lifeguard Revisions -
Pool Fitness Skills video.