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Lifesaving Society Programs

Canadian Swim Patrol

The Canadian Swim Patrol program is the on-ramp to lifeguarding. Ability is the only prerequisite.

The Swim Patrol provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol's three levels - Rookie, Ranger, and Star - continue to develop participants' swim strokes and provide the skill foundation that prepares them for success in the Society's Bronze medal awards.

Rookie Patrol: Swimmers continue stroke development with 50 m swims of front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Lifesaving Sport skills include a 25 m obstacle swim and 15 m object carry. First aid focuses on assessment of conscious victims, contacting EMS and treatment for bleeding. Fitness improves in 350 m workouts and 100 m timed swims.

Ranger Patrol: Swimmers develop better strokes over 75 m swims of each stroke. They tackle Lifesaving Sport skills in a lifesaving medley, timed object support and rescue with a buoyant aid. First aid focuses on assessment of unconscious victims, treatment of victims in shock and obstructed airway procedures. Skill drills develop a strong lifesaving foundation.

Star Patrol: Swimmers are challenged with 600 m workouts, 300 m timed swims and a 25 m object carry. Strokes are refined over 100 m swims. First aid focuses on treatment of bone or joint injuries and respiratory emergencies including asthma and allergic reactions. Lifesaving skills include defence methods, victim removals and rolling over and supporting a victim face up in shallow water.

Prerequisite:  None.


Aquatic Leadership Courses 

Bronze Star: Get a head start by taking Bronze Star. An excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion. Participants develop problem-solving and decision-making skills individually and in partners. Candidates learn CPR and develop the lifesaving skills needed to be their own lifeguard. Includes a timed 400 m swim.

Prerequisite: None (Swim Patrol experience recommended.)

Bronze Medallion: Teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the 4 components of water-rescue education - judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. Rescuers learn tows and carries, and defence methods and releases in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a 500 m timed swim.

Prerequisite: Minimum 13 years of age or Bronze Star certification (need not be current).

Emergency First Aid CPR B: For people who want a general knowledge of first aid principles and the emergency treatment of injuries. Skills include: victim assessment, rescue breathing, CPR, choking and what to do for external bleeding, heart attack and stroke. Includes CPR-B certification. Recognized by Ontario's Workplace Safety & Insurance Board.

Prerequisite: None.

Bronze Cross: Designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for all advanced training programs including National Lifeguard and Instructor certification. Includes a timed 600 m swim.

Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion and Emergency First Aid CPR B certifications (need not be current).

National Lifeguard (NL): Pool Option: National Lifeguard certification is Canada's professional lifeguard standard. National Lifeguard training develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment, and a mature and responsible attitude towards the lifeguard's role. National Lifeguard training emphasizes prevention and effective rescue response in emergencies including first aid treatment. Candidates develop teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Fitness requirements include a timed object recovery, 50 m sprint challenge, 50 m rescue drill and 400 m endurance challenge.

The National Lifeguard training program is designed for lifesavers who wish to obtain a responsible job and leadership experience. Successful candidates are certified by the Lifesaving Society - Canada's lifeguarding experts.

Prerequisite: 16 years of age by exam date, Bronze Cross and Standard First Aid (need not be current) from one of: Lifesaving Society, St. John Ambulance, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Ski Patrol.

Lifesaving Instructor: The Lifesaving Instructor Course prepares instructors to teach the Lifesaving Society's: Canadian Swim Patrol Program, Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, Wading Pool Attendant, Lifesaving Fitness, Distinction, Diploma, Basic and Emergency First Aid, and CPR-A, CPR-B and CPR-C.

Prerequisite: 16 years of age by the end of the course; Bronze Cross or NLS certification (need not be current).


Red Cross Instructor Development 

(dates to be determined)



Turn Your Aquatic Skills Into a Career. Become a Water Safety Instructor!

The love of swimming in others can start with you. Become a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and teach all Red Cross Swim programs to various age groups, from infants to adults.

When you choose the Red Cross Instructor Development Program, you're getting:

  • A fun and interactive program with online, hands-on and in-pool experiences.
  • Online modules that allow you to learn at your own pace according to your schedule.
  • Practical experience with the Red Cross Swim programs within the course.
  • Modern learning methodology - not your traditional lecture format.
  • Solid communication and leadership skills.


The Red Cross offers Canada's most comprehensive course designed to train you to become a Swimming and Water Safety Instructor. Our research has enabled us to build a course that focuses on the fundamentals of teaching. The skills you learn with us can prepare you for future employment in aquatics, recreation and numerous other fields. Certifications are recognized Canada-wide.

Water Safety Instructor Course

The Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Course prepares candidates to instruct Red Cross Swim programs. Candidates focus on strategies to introduce and develop swimming and water safety skills in the Red Cross Swim Preschool, Red Cross Swim Kids, Red Cross Swim @ School, Red Cross Swim @ Camp, Red Cross Swim for Adults & Teens, and Red Cross Swim Adapted programs.


  • 15 years of age to begin the WSI - Online.
  • Ability to perform Red Cross Swim Kids 10 strokes and skills.
  • One of: Red Cross Assistant Lifeguard, Emergency First Aid or higher, or Bronze Cross. Certifications do not need to be current.

Completion Criteria:

  • Attend and participate in 100% of all WSI Course components.
  • All course components (WSI - Skills Evaluation, WSI - Online, WSI - Teaching Experience, and WSI - Classroom and Pool) are evaluated against specific evaluation criteria on a pass/fail basis.
  • All course components must be completed for successful completion of the WSI certification.


Water Safety Instructor

Skills Evaluation

3-6 hours

Ensures candidates have the necessary water safety knowledge, strokes, and skills equivalent to the Red Cross Swim Kids 10 performance criteria as well as Instructor Emergency Response (IER) skills.



Water Safety Instructor


14-20 hours

Focuses on the theory of instruction through videos, virtual games, online activities, workbook exercises and a knowledge evaluation at the end of each module.



Water Safety Instructor

Teaching Experience

minimum 8 hours

The candidate assists the Supervising WSI for first-hand experience with teaching progressions and swimmer skills in a class setting which provides a frame of reference to reflect on and link to the theory of the course.



Water Safety Instructor

Classroom and Pool

9 hours and 12 hours 

Candidates demonstrate and receive feedback on their instructional skills to ensure they can effectively plan, teach and evaluate the Red Cross Swim programs.


Upon successful completion of all four components of the WSI Course:

  • WSI candidates are certified for one year as Water Safety Instructors, which allows them to teach Red Cross Swim programs.
  • When new WSIs complete three WSI - Online Professional Development Modules within the one-year certification period, they receive an automatic one-year extension on the original certification.
  • New WSIs who do not complete the three WSI - Online Professional Development Modules within the original one-year certification period attend a WSI Recertification Course to maintain a current certification.
  • Candidates are considered certified once Red Cross has issued the certification card.


PLEASE NOTE:  Proof of prerequisites must be shown and copied at the time of registration. There are some additional materials needed for some courses, which are listed on the registration forms. Exam fees are extra and are paid at time of registration.

IMPORTANT: The dates & times for the exams cannot be changed. Age requirements are strictly upheld. Anything less than 100% attendance may affect completion of the course. 100% attendance is mandatory for the WSI, LSI & NL course.


Please click here for an overview of the steps to become a Lifeguard/Aquatic Instructor.

Click here for Swim Patrol - Rookie, Ranger, Star Registration Form 2018 (PDF)

Click here for Bronze Star, Bronze Medallion and Bronze Cross Registration Form 2018 (PDF)

Click here for Red Cross Water Safey Instructor Registration Form 2018 - 2019 (PDF)

Click here for Red Cross Water Safey Instructor Recertification Registration Form 2019 (PDF)

Click here for National LIfeguard Course Registration Form 2018 (PDF) Spring 2019

Click here for National LIfeguard Recertification Course Registration Form 2018 (PDF)

Click here for Lifesaving Instructor Course Registration Form 2019 (PDF) Winter 2 2019


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