Create your lifesaving club



The first step in forming a lifesaving sport club is the incorporation of a nonprofit organization (NPO). This is a group of people who have no intention of making financial gains to share among members. Such a group is a separate legal entity and has rights and obligations of its own.


Once a lifesaving sport club is incorporated, a Board of Directors (BOD) must be formed to ensure the administration of the club. A Board of Directors should consist of a minimum of 3 directors (5 to 7 directors are suggested), but the number will vary depending on what is provided for in the application for incorporation (RE-303).

Among the directors, it is important to have an executive committee consisting of a president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary, who may be determined by appointment or election.


The by-laws of a nonprofit are a key document and are a sort of guide to its internal management. It is strongly recommended to adopt them, although they are not mandatory by law. They form a contract between the nonprofit and its members, so that the provisions contained therein are binding on the nonprofit and those who have been admitted into it.


A general assembly (GA) is a gathering of all the members of a club and the BOD administrators to make decisions on specific matters, such as the purchase of equipment and the hiring of a new employee. Usually held annually, a GA allows administrators to inform members and members to vote on changes to the organization’s operations.


The financial records of a nonprofit must allow Revenu Québec (RQ) and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to verify all expenses and revenues, including any donations received. Records must be supported by documentary evidence (i.e., invoices, receipts, debited checks, employment contracts, expense reports, purchase orders, etc.) that enable the verification of records made. Records must be maintained in either French or English.


Once a lifesaving sports club is incorporated and a board of directors is formed, the club must insure all its assets.


Recruiting should be a constant concern for every club. Therefore, at the very foundation of a club, it is essential to ascertain if there is a demand in the community. In addition, it is essential to find one or more training sites (i.e., pool, beach) as well as qualified coaches to conduct the training. However, there are several ways to recruit members once a club has been launched.


The high rate of volunteer attrition disrupts the availability of lifesaving sport activities. Between 25% and 30% of volunteers drop out each year, and this inevitably affects the growth of the sport. The work of volunteers can be thankless, with heavy responsibilities and decisions made in the heat of the moment, but they must be interested and enjoy their tasks. To retain volunteers, the focus should be on mentoring and recognition.


Lifesaving sport competitions require a lot of equipment, but clubs do not necessarily need to have everything to train. It is also possible to purchase used equipment to save money, but research and inspection of the equipment should be done prior to purchase.


Fundraising is an integral part of running a lifesaving sport club. Finding funds can be difficult, but there are many ways to raise them. With time and effort, a club can raise enough funds to compete at regional, provincial, national, and international levels.

Contact the Lifesaving Society at to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with all the information as well as documentation you need to start a lifesaving club.