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American Red Cross Courses

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Class Descriptions

Lifeguarding CPR/FA/AED
This class teaches lifeguard candidates the skills and knowledge needed to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies. Upon successful completion of the course, each student will receive: Lifeguard Training, First Aid, CPR, and AED certifications.

Lifeguard Recertification
The purpose of this course is to help participants achieve recertification in Lifeguard Training without having to take the full content course. Proof of valid certification is required for review course. Upon successful completion of the course, each student will receive Lifeguard Training, First Aid CPR, and AED certifications.

Water Safety Instructor Training
Water Safety Instruction is an advanced swimming course designed for those who wish to become American Red Cross Swim Instructors. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be certified to teach all levels of swim lessons as well as the Community Water Safety Courses.

Visit for more information and to register!


To register online, click the link above or contact Member Services at or 617-552-0797 for additional information.

If you'd like to receive information about BC Rec aquatic programs, reminders about facility closures and updates on our daily schedule, please sign up for the Pool listserv. For regular updates on the Masters program, sign up for the Masters listserv.


Please be aware that there is a swim assessment (below) for all Lifeguarding and Water Safety Instructor classes. This swim assessment must be passed to continue with the class. If you fail to pass the swim assessment, you will not be able to continue with the class. There will be NO REFUNDS for anyone who fails the Prerequisite Swim Assessment.

Lifeguard Class

Before you begin the lifeguard course material, we need to ensure your swimming skills are strong enough to ensure your safety and the safety of your classmates. A swim test and skills assessment will be administered on the first day of class.

There are several parts to the swim test:

1. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing.  Candidates may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.  There is no time requirement.

2. Tread for 2 minutes using only the legs. Participant should place their hands under their armpits.

3. Starting in the water, swim 20 yards using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive 12 feet deep, retrieve a 10-pound object, return to the surface, swim 20 yards back to the starting point with the object and exit the water without using a ladder or steps, within 1 minute, 40 seconds. The participant may not use goggles for this skill. NOTE: When returning to the starting point, the participant must hold the 10-pound object with both hands, placing the brick on his or her chest, and must keep his or her face above the water. The participant can swim on his or her back using an elementary backstroke kick, flutter kick or a rotary kick. The participant must exit the water using her or her own strength. The time is complete once the participant has exited the water and is standing up on the pool deck.

Water Safety Instructor Class

To participate in the Water Safety Instructor course, individuals must:

Be at least 16 years of age on or before the final scheduled lesson of this course.

Demonstrate the ability to perform the following swimming skills:

1. Swim the following strokes

  • Front crawl—25 yards
  • Back crawl—25 yards
  • Breaststroke—25 yards
  • Elementary backstroke—25 yards
  • Sidestroke—25 yards
  • Butterfly—15 yards

2. Maintain position on back for 1 minute in deep water (floating or sculling).

3. Tread water for 1 minute.