Frequently Asked Questions

How old must I be to become a lifeguard?

Even if you need to be only 16 years old when you take a National Lifeguard course, the Regulation respecting safety in public baths (B-1.1, r. 11) requires lifeguards to be at least 17 years old and to hold a National Lifeguard award that is no more than 2 years old.
You can also become assistant-lifeguard at 15 years old if you have a Bronze Medallion award.

What material do I need for the National Lifeguard course?

  • Alert: Lifeguarding in action
  • Canadian Lifesaving Manual
  • Canadian First Aid Manual
  • Regulation respecting safety in public baths (B-1.1, r. 11)
  • Pocket mask
  • Gloves
  • Whistle

Are there equivalences for first aid courses?

The Lifesaving Society recognizes the following awards as prerequisites that are equivalent or superior to the Lifesaving Standard First Aid (16 h) award for the National Lifeguard – Pool course.  

  • Standard First Aid (16 h), Canadian Red Cross
  • First Aider Training in the workplace, CNESST
  • Wilderness & Remote First Aid – advanced & CPR/AED C, Canadian Red Cross
  • First responder, Canadian Red Cross
  • First responder recognized by a regional health agency
  • Active ambulance paramedic
  • Aquatic emergency care/AED (less than 2 years)
  • Standard First Aid from the Lifesaving Society’s other divisions

A prior-learning recognition form (available on the Lifesaving Society’s Web site) must be submitted before the beginning of the National Lifeguard course. Handling charges will be invoiced.

Can I start the National Lifeguard course even if I don’t meet all the prerequisites?

Candidates must meet the minimum age requirement on the day of the course examination. It is mandatory that they meet all other prerequisites before the beginning of the first course. If you cannot prove you meet all required prerequisites, you will be informed that access to the next course will be denied unless you bring the required supporting documents. No exception will be made.

I can’t attend a course in which I’m registered; what should I do?

When candidates register to a course, they also commit to attend a minimum percentage of class hours:

  • Bronze Medallion: 75%
  • Bronze Cross: 75%
  • National Lifeguard (all options): 90%
  • Lifesaving Instructor: 90%
  • Standard First Aid/AED: 90%

If you plan on not fully attending a course while still meeting the required minimum attendance percentage, you must inform your instructor. You are responsible for catching up on any material missed during your absence.

What can I do if I have failed my Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course?

Any candidate who has failed the Bronze Medallion or Bronze Cross course can retake the exam by registering to a challenge. A challenge is an examination for which candidates do not need to have previously followed the course, and during which each course item is assessed. Candidates who have failed a bronze level course can participate to a challenge in order to try successfully completing the examination.

Can I retake the National Lifeguard exam?

No. A candidate who failed the National Lifeguard exam must retake the entire course.

What can I do if I want to work as a lifeguard and my National Lifeguard award is expired?

Any expired National Lifeguard award, no matter its expiration date, can be recertified at any time in a National Lifeguard recertification.

What can I do if I have failed a recertification?

Candidates who fail their award recertification must work on the items they missed and make sure they have acquired the lacking skills or knowledge before participating to a second recertification. If a candidate fails a second recertification, he or she must retake the complete course.

Can I have my exam postponed?

We strongly recommend you take your exam at the aquatic facility at which you are registered. However, if medical reasons, a loved one’s passing, a field trip, your participation to a high-level lifesaving sport competition or any other reason deemed valid by the Lifesaving Society makes this impossible:

1.    Inform your instructor of the situation as soon as possible so he/she can request a group transfer authorization.
2.    Provide your instructor with an appropriate supporting document (doctor’s note, letter signed by the lifesaving club’s coach, etc.).

Note that an award’s expiration date cannot be postponed, no matter the circumstances.

I own a maître-nageur award from France. Can I work as a lifeguard in Canada?

Lifesaving Society certificates are the only ones recognized in Canada for work. Therefore, foreign patent holders are required to follow the following procedure.


First, it is necessary to participate in a bronze medal challenge, followed by a bronze cross challenge. These two challenges can be completed simultaneously, either as part of a Bronze Medallion and/or Bronze Cross review, or during a requalification of these formations.


Then, general first aid training or equivalent training provided by organizations such as the Red Cross, the Heart and Stroke Foundation or St. John's Ambulance should be taken.



Finally, it is necessary to follow the National Lifeguard training, swimming pool option, as well as the other options available if desired. 

Still have some questions?

Consult the Program Guide for detailed explanations on all administrative matters and all Lifesaving Society awards.

Consult the Lifesaving Society’s reference manuals for any technical question regarding lifeguarding, lifesaving, first aid, etc.

You can also contact a local technical advisor for any question about course content and lifesaving techniques, or directly contact the Lifesaving Society’s customer service department Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 4:30 pm, at 514 252-3100 or at 1 800 265-3093.