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National Lifeguard

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.

Lifeguard rowing

NLS 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.

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 Waterpark Option.

Instruction and certification: Current National Lifeguard Instructors teach the National Lifeguard option(s) they hold and evaluate most items, but only current National Lifeguard Examiners may certify candidates. Specifically:

  • Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Pool teach National Lifeguard Pool. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Pool certify National Lifeguard Pool candidates.
  • Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Waterfront teach National Lifeguard Waterfront. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Waterfront certify National Lifeguard Waterfront candidates.
  • Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Waterpark teach National Lifeguard Waterpark. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Waterpark certify National Lifeguard Waterpark candidates.
  • Current National Lifeguard Instructors who hold National Lifeguard Surf teach National Lifeguard Surf. Current National Lifeguard Examiners who hold National Lifeguard Surf certify National Lifeguard Surf candidates

Candidate recognition: Certification card.

Required reference material: Alert: Lifeguarding in Action.

NLS 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.

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).