Distinction (20-25 hr.): encourages a maturity of response to demanding aquatic emergency situations and is designed to develop advanced water rescue skill and knowledge, and an understanding of the principles of fitness training. Distinction challenges include implications of assuming responsibility in an emergency, how to deal with 2 victims at once, and rescue of a non-breathing spinal-injured victim. Inherent in the name of the award, lifesavers must perform every item with distinction.

Prerequisite: Bronze Cross certification (need not be current).

Instruction & certification: Current Lifesaving Instructors teach and evaluate some items, but only Bronze Examiners who hold Distinction may certify candidates. The Lifesaving Society deems its certifications to be "current" for 24 months from the certification date.

Candidate recognition: Distinction medal, Distinction Award crest, certification card.

Required reference material: Canadian Lifesaving Manual

TEST Items

  1. *Demonstrate an understanding of:
    • the implications of assuming responsibility in an emergency
    • the implications of the unsuccessful rescue
    • types of spinal injuries and implications
    • drowning patterns or trends and common aquatic accidents
    • factors affecting the choice of water rescue emergency procedures
    • the effects of panic and stress upon a rescuer, victim or bystander in an aquatic emergency and the implications for the rescuer's decisions
    • components of physical fitness and basic principles of training
  2. *Demonstrate:
    1. the recovery of a non-breathing victim (clothed in shirt, pants, shoes) submerged in deep water.
      • Initiate rescue breathing using a buoyant aid for support while travelling 25 m; and
      • With no aid for support, travel 25 m to point of safety where rescue breathing is initiated.
    2. a technique for the movement of two victims to nearest point of safety.
    3. a carry (25 m or yd.) for 2 victims at once.
    4. Organize and demonstrate a search procedure/pattern for 1 trained lifesaver appropriate for circumstances described by the evaluator.
    5. Recover and immobilize in deep water a breathing, spinal-injured victim and return to the nearest points of safety.
  3. :::
  4. *Demonstrate a head-up approach (100 m or yd.) to contact a passive victim (clothed in shirt, pants, shoes) at the surface. Carry the victim (100 m or yd.) to safety in the following time limit: 200 m in 8 min. or 200yd. in 7:30 min.
  5. *Demonstrate 1 aquatic activity for each of the following:
    1. To place candidate's heart rate within personal Target Zone;
    2. To improve muscular strength, power or endurance.
  6. Perform a rescue of a breathing or a non-breathing, spinal-injured victim. Recruit trained bystanders and prepare victim for transport. Situation is designed to emphasize immobilization, stabilization and shallow water removal.
  7. Perform 2 rescues where the victim is suffering from any one of the following conditions, or a combination of them:
    • pulselessness
    • asphyxia
    • injury
    • some other medical emergency: hyperventilation, major bleeding, heart attack, stroke, heat-related problem or long bone fracture.
  8. Swim:
    1. 50 m or yd. each of: legs only, front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke.
    2. continuously 700 m or 750 yd. in 14 min. using any combination of your choice of strokes.


* Asterisk indicates item is evaluated by the Instructor.