Get hands-on training to certify as an Aquatics leader

If you’re interested in training for a role as a lifeguard or swimming instructor, the YMCA is the place for you. Become certified to qualify for work as an Aquatics leader, either at the YMCA or the many other organizations that recognize our Lifesaving Society credentials. These courses teach the knowledge, fitness and leadership skills you need to guard and/or teach effectively.


Register for an Aquatics Leadership Program



Our Aquatics Leadership Programs:

Discover what it takes to be a lifeguard. This program introduces you to lifesaving techniques and first aid skills. You'll also gain experience in accident prevention and dealing with the public.

Prerequisites: Participants must be able to swim 50 metres and tread water for one minute.

Bronze Star is an excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion. In Bronze Star, participants develop problem-solving and decision-making skills, swimming proficiency, and personal fitness. You will refine stroke mechanics, acquire self-rescue skills, and apply fitness principles in training workouts.

Bronze Medallion teaches an understanding of the lifesaving principles embodied in the four components of water rescue education: judgment, knowledge, skill, and fitness. Rescuers acquire the assessment and problem-solving skills needed to make good decisions in, on, and around water. This course includes CPR-C and AED.

Prerequisites: 13 years of age or Bronze Star.

Bronze Cross begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares rescuers for responsibilities as assistant lifeguards. You will strengthen and expand lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatics facilities. This course emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Bronze Cross is needed for all advanced training programs including National Lifeguard and Instructor certifications.

Prerequisites: Bronze Medallion and Alberta workplace-approved Standard First Aid.

The Lifesaving Society’s National Lifeguard certification builds on the fundamental skills, knowledge, fitness, judgment and values taught in the prerequisite Lifesaving Society lifesaving certifications. Recognized as the standard for lifeguards in Canada, National Lifeguard training develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment, and a mature and responsible attitude toward the role of the lifeguard.

Prerequisites: 16 years of age, Bronze Cross and current Alberta workplace-approved Standard First Aid.

Boost your fitness level and your swimming skills! You will refine your strokes and increase your endurance and efficiency through a variety of swim drills and practice. This fun and social class is a great way to add interest and challenge to lane swimming and become a stronger swimmer.

Prerequisites: Participants should feel comfortable in the water and be able to swim a minimum of 50 metres continuously.

This recertification clinic is for certified National Lifeguards. You must bring your NL Card and photo identification to the course as well as proof of your current Alberta workplace approved Standard First Aid. This is a re-exam situation and involves lifeguarding, first aid, fitness skills and situations.

Master the water! This program covers the four competitive strokes-freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly-in a competitive, club environment. With the help of a coach, you will participate in a variety of swim workouts that will help refine your stroke and build speed, endurance and efficiency in the water. Swimmers will be registered with Swim Alberta as a masters swimmer and will have the option to compete at sanctioned competitions throughout the season.

Prerequisites: Participants should be able to swim 500 metres continuously prior to registering for this class.

Have fun learning competitive swimming skills in a more relaxed recreational environment. You will refine and practice competitive strokes including front crawl, breaststroke, back crawl and butterfly. Participants will learn to enter the water for a race, flip turn and work to maximize swimming speed, efficiency and endurance. Participants will be grouped according to skill level.

Prerequisite: Participants must be able to swim 50 metres of front crawl and tread water for a minimum of one minute.


We are excited to share that YMCA Calgary has been selected to receive a Community Development Grant from Canadian Tire Jumpstart. This grant will go a long way towards helping us certify our youth aquatics staff as they train to become lifeguards.