National Lifeguard


National Lifeguard is a legal certificate for lifeguarding throughout the country and is recognized by the province of Ontario for lifeguarding public swimming pools.

National Lifeguard is recognized as the waterfront supervisory certification for Ontario Recreational Camp Regulation 503/17.

National Lifeguard certification is available in four options: Pool, Waterpark, Waterfront, and Surf. The National Lifeguard Award Guide details the curriculum requirements and performance standards for National Lifeguard Instructors and candidates.

Prerequisites: Minimum 15 years of age, Bronze Cross, and Lifesaving Society Standard First Aid (need not be current) or Standard First Aid from one of these approved agencies.

National Lifeguard Pool certification is a prerequisite for the Waterpark option and National Lifeguard Waterfront is a prerequisite for the Surf option.

First aid prerequisite: For prerequisite purposes, the Lifesaving Society only accepts Standard First Aid certificates from training agencies on the approved list. When a first aid certification from an agency other than the Lifesaving Society is used as a prerequisite for a Lifesaving Society award, a photocopy of the certification card must accompany the Lifesaving Society test sheets.

National Lifeguard candidates: If you are using a Standard First Aid certification from an agency other than the Lifesaving Society to fulfill the National Lifeguard prerequisite, you must provide a photocopy of your certification card to accompany the National Lifeguard test sheets. We will not issue your National Lifeguard award if this proof of prerequisite is missing.

Affiliates: Please notify National Lifeguard candidates of this prerequisite in your promotional materials and at registration locations.


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Instruction & certification: Current National Lifeguard Instructors teach the National Lifeguard option(s) they hold and evaluate most items, but only current 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: To remain “current”, National Lifeguards successfully complete a National Lifeguard recertification exam. The only items evaluated on a National Lifeguard recertification examination are marked with a (†) symbol in the At-a-glance list of test items, on the test sheets and in the National Lifeguard Award Guide.

Check Find a Course for facilities offering National Lifeguard recertifications 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 Lifeguard).

Physical Standards

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. Each option’s physical standards have been updated in the most recent 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.


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