Water Safety Training

The Department of Parks and Recreation is an American Red Cross Training Provider. To view class offerings and to register, visit PARKS DIRECT

Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Courses

Traditional Option (Ages 16 & Up) 

The American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course is designed to train instructor candidates to teach swim lessons and other water safety programs through instructor lead sessions. 

Requirements

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Participants must have previously passed the Pre-test for Water Safety Instructor Training course that is listed below (both pre-test and course must be taken at the same facility).
  • The first homework assignments will require participants to have access to the Internet.

Blended Learning Option (Ages 16 & Up) 

The  American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Blended Learning course trains instructor candidates to teach swim lessons and other water safety programs through instructor lead sessions and interactive online homework assignments.

Requirements

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Participants must have previously passed the Pre-test for Water Safety Instructor Training course that is listed below (both pre-test and course must be taken at the same facility).
  • Each homework assignment will require participants to have access to the Internet.

Water Safety Instructor Training Pre-Test (Ages 16 & Up)

This pre-test is necessary for both Water Safety Instructor Training courses (both pre-test and course must be taken at the same facility). Participates must be at least 16 years old and will need to demonstrate the ability to perform the following swimming skill at Youth 4/Adult 4 level proficiency:

  • 15 yards Butterfly
  • 25 yards Back Crawl
  • 25 yards Breaststroke
  • 25 yards Elementary Backstroke
  • 25 yards Front Crawl
  • 25 yards Sidestroke
  • Maintain position on back for 1 minute in deep water (floating or sculling)
  • Tread water for 1 minute

Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers

The free Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers Online Course focuses on developing an awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize those risks, especially for young children. This online course teaches parents and caregivers about the concepts of the circle of drowning prevention, water competency, and the chain of drowning survival. It also provides guidance for applying water safety to common environments and situations where children are most at risk for drowning.

This free program is accessible online in English and Spanish.

Becoming a Water Safety Ambassador

The free Becoming a Water Safety Ambassador course covers fundamentals of water safety, provides an orientation to Red Cross materials to teach water safety in dryland, classroom-based setting, and offers ideas on how to implement water safety education in your community. This online course is intended for teachers as well as adult and youth leaders in the community who are committed to sharing Red Cross resources to impact drowning rates, especially in places that are most at risk for drowning.

This free program is accessible online.

Safety Training for Swim Coaches

The American Red Cross Safety Training for Swim Coaches program, which was developed in partnership with USA Swimming, is designed to teach those involved in competitive swimming including coaches, officials, athletic trainers, and aquatic exercise trainers, how to help:

  • Maintain a comfortable and safe environment for swimmers.
  • Prevent accidents and emergencies.
  • Respond to swimmers with illnesses or injuries in water or on land.

Course Requirements

The Safety Training for Swim Coaches certification requirement can be met through a two-step process:

  1. All individuals interested in taking Safety Training for Swim Coaches should start by registering for Safety Training for Swim Coaches Online Content Only on redcross.org.
  2. In Water Verification of Skills:
    • Option 1: Coaches who hold a current certification in Lifeguarding, Shallow Water Lifeguarding, or Aquatic Attraction Lifeguarding have satisfied the requirements for Safety Training for Swim Coaches in-water skills and are not required to complete any additional in-water skills sessions.
    • Option 2: Coaches who do not hold one of the above certifications can attend an in-water skills session delivered by a Water Safety Instructor or Lifeguarding Instructor. Email pg-aquatics@pgparks.com to connect with a Water Safety or Lifeguarding Instructor.
    • Option 3: Print the generic STSC In-Water Skills Checklist and review the skills with an instructor certified by one of the organizations on the USA Swimming checklist. This form can be found on the Red Cross Learning Center.

Course Prerequisites

To participate in the Safety Training for Swim Coaches course, participants must be at least 15 years of age on or before the final scheduled session of the course. There are no skill prerequisites to enroll in the Safety Training for Swim Coaches course. However, because there is an in-water skills session, participants must be comfortable in chest-deep water.

Certification Requirements

To receive the course completion certificate, the participant must:

  • Complete the online portion of the course, including achieving a minimum score of 80 percent on the online written exam.
  • Meet the in-water skill verification requirement by either
  • Completing the in-water skill session
  • Maintaining a lifeguarding certification
  • Having skills reviewed by an instructor certified by one of the organizations on the USA Swimming checklist

Upon successful completion of the Safety Training for Swim Coaches online content and meeting the in-water skill verification requirement, participants should provide the necessary certificates and documentation as proof of course completion to their national governing body, such as USA Swimming and Y-USA.