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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.

American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification & Training  

The purpose of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course is to provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide professional-level care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. The class may be led through both online and instructor-led skill sessions. Participants must attend all class sessions, successfully perform all required skills, successfully complete final skill scenarios, and pass each written exam with a minimum grade of 80 percent or better to complete the course.

Prerequisites (conducted in class on first day):

  1. Be at least 15 years old on or before the final scheduled session of the course.
  2. Swim 300 yards, continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Candidates may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both, but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.
  3. Tread water for 2 minutes, using only the legs. Candidates should place their hands under the armpits.
  4. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
    • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Swim goggles are not allowed.
    • Surface dive, feet-first or headfirst, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
    • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on the back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object and keeping the face at or near the surface so they are able to get a breath.
    • Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

Registration

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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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.