Lifeguarding Training

Anytime of the year, whether swimming, boating, or going to a water park, everyone should know the basics of water safety. The Red Cross offers courses for personal safety and swimming for all ages, safety in small water craft, and courses leading to lifeguard certification. The best part about taking a Red Cross course is that while you are learning, you are also helping the Red Cross’ mission to provide compassionate care to those in need. So if you are learning to swim, learning to play safe, or learning to save lives, you can ensure that your dollars go farther with the Red Cross.

Learn More About: Lifeguard Training | Lifeguard Preparation

Four lifeguards with equipment by a pool
Lifeguard trainer and students with swimming class certificates
Swimming & Water Safety
Lifeguard with clipboard by pool
Safety Training for Swim Coaches
Lifeguard with students floating in pool
Aquatic Instructor Training
Lifeguards and manager by a pool
Lifeguard Management
Lifeguards performing CPR
CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Healthcare Providers
Water rescue in a canoe
Small Craft Safety



Blended Learning

Blended Learning



Longfellow's WHALE Tales image

Longfellow's WHALE Tales

Longfellow WHALE Tales is taught to raise children’s awareness of safe behavior in, on and around the water. This is a free Red Cross water safety course that can be taught by any Aquatic Leader, Instructor, or School Teacher. WHALE Tales can be taught without a pool and is a great rainy day activity for Schools, Summer Camps, and during Swimming Lessons. View and Download Longfellow’s WHALE Tales educational materials here.

Children and instructor in pool

Swimming and Water Safety

The Red Cross has a long history of promoting water safety through local swimming lessons and awareness and education of safety needs around pools and open water.

Find out how you can join an American Red Cross water safety or swim class in your area. See our list of Red Cross Learn-to-Swim providers, here.

Want to enroll your facility in the 2016 Learn-to-Swim Program? Click here.

If you’re interested in teaching Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety classes, search for “Water Safety Instructor” classes in your area by clicking the “Aquatic Instructor Training” option at the top of this page.

kids and instructor in pool

A Century in Aquatics

For the past century, the American Red Cross has helped millions of people learn to swim and be water smart. To honor our 100 years of water safety we launched the Centennial Campaign – a multi-year action to lower drowning rates by 50% in 50 local communities where those rates exceed the national average.

Find out more or get involved here.

children in pool

Can't Find the Answer? - Ask Your Aquatics Representative

American Red Cross Swimming, Lifeguarding and Water Safety programs are offered throughout the country. For questions or information about any of the Red Cross aquatics programs in your area, contact your local aquatics representative, here.

Why Train with Red Cross - CPR Training Saves Lives

Reid Heiser, Life Saver

One week after 17-year-old Reid completed his Red Cross CPR training, he needed to use it. In November 2011, Reid saved the life of Jim Hammer after he collapsed at the recreation center where Reid worked. Now friends, they share their story.

Red Cross Training Matters.

For more than a century, we've prepared families and individuals, as well as healthcare workers, like CNAs and EMTs, to respond to emergencies of all sizes. Join the millions we train every year and learn the skills that can save a life.

"Without my friend's training, I would not be here" - watch Bre Dumke's story

"I'm really glad she survived that" - watch the Snyder Family's story

Red Cross certification of completion on a tablet

Certification Made Simple. Fast. Easy. Digital.

The American Red Cross lifeguarding and water safety certification processes are fast, simple and easy. With Red Cross Digital Certificates you get anytime, anywhere access to your certificates; plus print, share, and download wherever and whenever you like. Digital certificates can be viewed, printed or shared online and can be accessed anytime through your Red Cross Account. Each certificate includes a unique ID and a QR code which meets employment requirements and allows employers to easily confirm your certificate is valid. Class participants and employers can visit and enter the ID found on the digital certificate (or scan the QR code with a standard QR reader using a smart device) to access a copy of the valid certificate with student training information.

Click here for instructions on accessing your Red Cross lifeguard training, water safety or aquatics certificate.