Goup of young YMCA lifeguards

Lifeguard Certification & Training

In addition to swim lessons, water fitness, and swim team opportunities for children and families, the YMCA offers lifeguard certification and training. Upon certification, participants may also successfully seek employment at the YMCA.

This comprehensive course offers up-to-date information on how to lifeguard, anticipate and prevent problems, and take action to help those in danger. Some of the safety and survival skills taught include:

  • Accident prevention
  • Lifeguarding techniques
  • Emergency system rescue skills
  • First aid in aquatic environments
  • Spinal injury management
  • Weather and open water dangers
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Pool management

Critical health care topics such as CPR for Professional Rescuers and AED and Oxygen Administration are also included in the course.

Lifeguard Certification & Training Prerequisites

To register, participants must:

  • Be at least 16 years old (under 18 need parental consent)
  • Pass a swim test which includes performing a long shallow front dive followed by 500 yard swim (100 yards each of sidestroke, front crawl, breaststroke, and sidestroke kick with one arm on stomach)
  • Be able to tread water for at least 2 minutes, using legs only
  • Be able to surface dive head first and feet first in 8-10 feet of water
  • Be able to swim underwater for 15 feet

Participants have to attend all classes to receive certification, and will need to bring a bathing suit, towel, goggles, notebook, and pen to all classes.


Lifeguard certification and training classes are held at various locations throughout the year, please contact your local branch for more information, times, and dates.

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For a Better Us

We are making a difference, thanks to the strong support of our community.

Mission Statement

YMCA Buffalo Niagara is a charitable, community based organization committed to providing programs designed to build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.