West Essex YMCA

Lifeguard Class

American Red Cross Lifeguard Training


The West Essex YMCA is an authorized provider for the American Red Cross.  Lifeguard certifications can be used at any aquatic facility in the state and country!

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 care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services personnel take over.

You will be certified in:

  1. Lifeguarding rescue skills
  2. First Aid
  3. Adult, child, & infant CPR
  4. Adult, child, & infant AED

Age Requirement: You must be 15 years old before the last day of the course.

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Swimming Ability

In order to maintain the safety of all lifeguard candidates, the American Red Cross will not allow participation in the lifeguard course unless you can successfully demonstrate the skills below. A non-refundable $100 deposit will reserve your spot in the course and the pre-skills evaluation. The balance must be paid upon successful completion of the pre-skills evaluation to continue with lifeguard training.

Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You 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.

  1. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. You should place your hands under your armpits.
  2. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds:
    1. Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Your face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
    2. Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
    3. Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object while keeping your face at or near the surface so you are able to get a breath. You should not swim the distance underwater. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.

Refund Policy
You will not receive a refund if the candidate does not pass the prerequisite skills test on the first day.  All class dates are mandatory.  Students who cancel prior to the start of class are entitled to transfer to another open class, but will not receive a refund.

*The YMCA reserves the right to deny class participation to any student that does not demonstrate the behavior of a professional lifeguard as defined by the American Red Cross.