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2020 American Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard Course Content

The American Red Cross Lifeguard course will teach you the skills and knowledge required to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies. On completion you will be certified for two years and qualified as a lifeguard in the US only, however this does not stop you from using your skills in an emergency in the UK or another country.

The Course Will Include the Following:

  • The Professional Lifeguard and Injury Prevention
  • Patron surveillance and Emergency Preparation
  • Water Rescue Skills
  • Before Providing Care and First Aid
  • Breathing and Cardiac Emergencies
  • Two Rescuer (CPR Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) and AED (Automatic External Defibrillation)
  • Caring for Head, Neck and Back Injuries
  • Lifeguarding at a Waterfront (lake, open water)

To Pass the Course you are Required to:

  • Complete the online learning modules before attending the in-person training. A link for these will be sent out prior to the course start date and they take a total of approx. 7 hours to complete, however does not need to be done in one sitting.
  • Pass the prerequisite swim tests detailed below
  • Attend all pool and classroom sessions during the course
  • Perform all skills to the required American Red Cross standard for an Instructor
  • Successfully pass all land and water scenario tests


Prerequisite Swim Tests

These will be tested on Day 1 and you must successfully complete all skills to continue on the course.

1 - 550 Yard Swim (approx. 20 lengths of a 25m pool)

Swim 550 yards continuously without stopping, demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. Front Crawl, Breaststroke or a combination of both can be used but swimming on your back or side is not permitted. Goggles are allowed.

2 - Tread Water for 2 Minutes

Tread Water without support and without stopping, using only your legs with hands under your armpits. The head must remain above the surface of the water at all times. 

3 - Timed Event within 1 Minute and 40 Seconds 

Start in the water. Swim 20 yards and surface dive to a depth of 7-10 feet to retrieve a 10 pound object, return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back with both hands holding the object and keeping your face at or near the surface, to the starting point. Exit the water. Goggles are not allowed.

4 - Waterfront Swimming Skill

Swim 5 yards, submerge and retrieve three dive rings placed 5 yards apart in 4-7 feet of water, resurface and continue to swim another 5 yards. Goggles are not allowed.


If you have previous swimming experience then you should easily be able to complete these prerequisites, however we do recommend practicing before the course to increase swimming fitness. 

*ARC Guaranteed Placement Information:

Camp America will guarantee placement at a camp for participants who undertake the American Red Cross Lifeguard Course and meet the following criteria:

  • Attend all course sessions, pass the necessary exams including being able to demonstrate all skills to the ARC standard, and successfully pass the Waterfront Lifeguard course to obtain certification 
  • Meet the Camp Americal programme requirements and agree to the standard Terms and Conditions 
  • Successfully pass an interview with a local CA interviewer
  • Be available to fly to the US no later than June 20th
  • Truthfully complete the medical and criminal background questions on the CA application and provide required medical forms and Police Checks. Any medical condition or criminal conviction will be reviewed on an individual basis and confirmation will be sent before undertaking the course of how/whether this will affect an application
  • Provide at least two references which meet our standard reference criteria
  • Understand that CA cannot guarantee placement will be at a specific camp or camp type, we will, to the best of our ability honour the camp types chosen on the application. If a suitable placement is rejected without good reason then another placement will not be guaranteed, although CA will make all attempts to find another camp placement

If you have any questions or would like to register your interest please contact Katie, one of our instructors, by email or on 020 7581 7357.

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