National Lifeguard

The National Lifeguard award is a national performance standard and the only award recognized throughout Canada that allows its holder to work as a lifeguard anywhere in the country. The course has been developed to better understand lifeguarding principles and develop good judgment and a responsible attitude regarding the lifeguard’s responsibilities in an aquatic facility. You can specialize in the following four options: pool, waterpark, waterfront and surf.

Holders of a National Lifeguard award are entitled to work as lifeguards as soon as they reach 17 years old. 

*See the measures put in place by the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) to mitigate the impact of the shortage of qualified lifeguards.



Having a National Lifeguard – Pool award allows you to assume a lot more responsibilities when supervising an installation. This means you will have a lot more choice when choosing where to work. This option is the one chosen by most lifeguards.


You need more action? Waterparks are extremely diversified environments where lifeguards must work with each attraction’s distinctive features, as well as general characteristics such as slippery surfaces, crowded structures and water flow.  All these elements need to be taken into account during supervision, since they considerably increase risks; the amount of rescues performed in waterparks is significantly higher than in other aquatic environments.


Ever thought about working on a lake or a river’s beach? With this award, you will be ready to face environments that are greatly affected by nature, and know how to intervene in an emergency situation. As a waterfront National Lifeguard, you will also know how to deal with specific issues such as currents, sand, unsteady depths and water opacity, and use specialized lifesaving tools like rescue tubes and rescue boards.


This is just the award you need if you’re more interested in working by the sea or by the ocean. How about following an incredible training in an exciting environment, such as Carleton in the Gaspé Peninsula, Cape Hatteras or Hawaii in the United States, or in Costa Rica? With a National Lifeguard – Surf award, you will be able to assess issues that arise from the presence of specific elements such as strong currents, tides, waves, unsteady depths, sand and underwater obstacles. This environment’s distinctive features also mean that physical fitness requirements are higher; if you crave challenges, don’t hesitate!



  • 40 hours for the pool option (excluding final evaluation)
  • 20 hours for the other options (if the candidate holds a National Lifeguard – Pool award)


  • To be at least 15 years old at the final evaluation
  • To hold a Bronze Cross award
  • To hold a Standard First Aid/AED or an Aquatic Emergency Care/AED award
  • For the Waterpark option: to hold a National Lifeguard – Pool award
  • For the Surf option: to hold a National Lifeguard – Waterfront award


  • Valid for 2 years if used as work permit