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Become a Lifeguard

This flowchart lists the courses that the City of Burnaby offers to those wanting to become a lifeguard or swimming instructor. The City of Burnaby requires potential lifeguards or swimming instructors to take all required courses listed in the flowchart to be eligible for employment opportunities. We also offer re-certification courses for previous certified card-holders.

Select the links below to view course descriptions and registration information. 

Absences & Course Completion

Upper level Bronze courses that lead to the National Lifeguard course are evaluated for overall competency as per Lifesaving Society guidelines. If you are unable to attend a class but can still demonstrate full competency in the remaining classes, you may still be able to complete the course. There are no make-up classes or re-tests for these courses.

Course Descriptions

Swim Kids 10

Further refinement of strokes, with an introduction to butterfly and scissor kick, highlight this level. Children learn about sun safety and head- and feet-first surface dives. Endurance is built using butterfly drills and a 500-metre swim. (see Red Cross Swim Kids)

Canadian Swim Patrol 

8-12 years | Register »
Prerequisite: An ability to swim in deep water. The Canadian Swim Patrol (CSP) is a three-level, pre-Bronze award progression that delivers work hard/play hard training for skilled swimmers. Candidates earn recognition for success in content modules (stickers) and for overall award achievement (badges). The three modules in each level are Water Proficiency, Recognition & Rescue and First Aid. The purpose of the CSP is to take young swimmers beyond the learn-to-swim program and to provide them with basic lifesaving skills.

Bronze Star 

10+ years | Register »
Prerequisites: Canadian Swim Patrol recommended and an ability to swim in deep water. Provides excellent preparation for success in obtaining the Bronze Medallion award. Develops problemsolving and decision-making skills as they relate to water rescue and first aid as well as Water Smart confidence and the lifesaving skills needed to be one’s own personal lifeguard. 

Teen Stroke Improvement (optional)

12-15 years | Register »
Teens use goal setting, aiming at improving or maintaining their stroke performance, strength and endurance as well as lifesaving support skills. We recommend students be able to swim continuously for a minimum of 250 metres (10 lengths).

Bronze Medallion 

13+ years | Register »
Prerequisite: Candidate is required to be at least 13 years old or have completed Bronze Star. Ability to swim 100 metres in deep water. Understand the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water rescue education: judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. Rescuers learn selfrescue techniques, defence and release methods, and tows and carries in preparation for challenging rescues involving conscious and unconscious victims of various types, including spinal injuries and circulatory emergencies. Lifesavers develop stroke efficiency and endurance in a timed swim. Includes the CPR-A certification. Canadian Life Saving Manual is required and not included in fee. 

Lifeguard Skills & Fitness (optional)

13+ years | Register »
This course is designed for people wishing to pursue lifeguarding as a career and wish to seek employment opportunities. Instructors pick topics that further enhance the basic knowledge from the National Lifeguard course. An excellent course to take to prepare for the National Lifeguard certification.

Bronze Cross 

13+ years | Register »
Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion. Designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safety supervision in aquatic facilities. Swimmers develop proficiency at performing patient assessments, managing aquatic spinal injuries and preventing loss of life in a variety of aquatic emergencies, while developing stroke endurance and fitness training skills. Includes the CPR-C certification and is one of the prerequisite awards for all advanced Lifeguarding and Leadership training programs. It is also worth two Grade 11 high school credits. Canadian Life Saving Manual is required and not included in fee.

Aqua Adults (optional)

14+ years 
Level 1: This level is for the first-time, novice or apprehensive adult. The focus is on learning basic strokes and safety skills in a supportive environment. Register »
Level 2: If you are ready to progress, this level teaches a variety of activities in deep water as well as stroke development. Focus is on front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke. Register »

Standard First Aid 

14+ years | Register »
This course is the most comprehensive first aid training program available for the general public and is a prerequisite for the National Lifeguard program. Rescuers are trained in the skills and knowledge needed to assess and provide basic life support to patients with airway, breathing or circulatory emergencies, as well as how to manage medical, musculoskeletal and environmental emergencies. Includes CPR-C certification. Canadian First Aid Manual is required and not included in fee. 

Water Safety Instructor Skills Evaluation 

15+ years | Register »
Prerequisites for this course: 15 years of age, Bronze Cross, Standard First Aid or Aquatic Emergency Care and the ability to perform SK10 strokes and water safety skills. This course is part one of a two-part course to complete the WSI program. Evaluation of the required SwimKids 10 swimming criteria and water safety skills and instructor emergency response (First Aid) skills is a required step before moving onto the WSI course. 

Lifesaving Instructor 

16+ years | Register »
 Prerequisite: Bronze Cross. A Lifesaving Instructor (LSI) is trained to teach and evaluate the Canadian Swim Patrol, Bronze and Fitness and Excellence programs. Instructor candidates are taught learning styles and teaching methods that they apply to water rescue, first aid and related aquatic skills in the Canadian Lifesaving program. Candidates also learn about long-range and short-term planning, class management, safety supervision and the principles of evaluation. A Life Saving Instructor Kit is required and not included in fee. 

National Lifeguard 

16+ years | Register »
The NL Pool certification is designed to develop the fundamental values, judgment, knowledge, skills and fitness required by lifeguards. Emphasizes the lifeguarding skills, principles and practices, and the decision-making processes that assist the lifeguard in providing effective safety supervision in swimming pool environments. Candidate must hold a Bronze Cross (does not need to be current) and Standard First Aid or Aquatic Emergency Care (current award recommended) by the first day of the NL course. Emergency First Aid certificates obtained in high school are not accepted. Alert Manual is required and not included in fee. 

Water Safety Instructor 

15+ years | Register »
Prerequisites: WSI Skills and Evaluations (within the City of Burnaby), access to a computer and Internet. The Water Safety Instructor course prepares candidates to instruct Red Cross Swim programs. An online component (approx. 20 hours), teaching experience and classroom time provide the tools needed to become a certified instructor. This course requires 100 percent participation. Online PIN, manual and deck book are included in fee and are distributed on the first day of the course. 

Lifeguard School (optional)

16+ years | Register »
Register for Burnaby Lifeguard School to preparen yourself for the hiring process. Course includes: NL skills review, fitness training and other important NL skills. Prerequisite: National Lifeguard certification.