National Lifeguard Surf Option


The National Lifeguard Surf certification is designed to develop the lifeguarding skills, principles and practices and the decision-making processes which will assist the lifeguard to provide effective safety supervision of surf beach environments. It builds on the fundamental values, judgment, knowledge, skills and fitness developed in the NL Waterfront certification.

National Lifeguard Waterfront Need not be current but recommended
CPR C (with AED) Recommended
Instructional Time: 

 24 hours including open water/surf conditions and classroom time (not including breaks).

Taught by a current NL Instructor who has held an NL Surf.


A temporary certification card is issued on the last day of course to successful candidates that have shown all pre-requisites.  A permanent Certification Card will be mailed to the address indicated on the course roster.  Contact the Lifesaving Society if a permanent card has not been received within 60 days of course completion.


NL Surf is current for 2 years.

Please note that the Lifesaving Society does not grant extensions.

Evaluation and Other Items: 

la. *Demonstrate aerobic endurance: Run 100 metres with a rescue aid to enter the water; swim 100 metres to recover a conscious victim; tow the victim 100 metres - all within 8 minutes.

Ib. *Demonstrate aerobic fitness: Run 200 metres; swim 200 metres; run 200 metres - all within 8 minutes.

Ic. *Demonstrate strength and fitness: Approach 5 metres on the beach; enter the water to turn over and recover a passive or unconscious victim in waist-deep water; return the victim to shore and carry or drag 15 metres from the water's edge.

2. *Demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Features that vary from surf beach to surf beach (or from time to time) and how analysis of these
  • affects lifeguarding.
  • Environmental hazards of a surf beach.

3. *Demonstrate effective communication with patrons, victims, other lifeguards, supervisors and emergency service personnel.

4a. *Demonstrate effective surf beach supervision using observation skills and scanning techniques.

4b. *Demonstrate effective surf beach supervision using lifeguard positioning and rotation.

4c. *Demonstrate an ability to recognize situations in which early lifeguard intervention may prevent a rescue emergency.

5. *Demonstrate a variety of entries with a rescue aid and a variety of removals appropriate to a surf environment.

6. *Demonstrate effective use of a rescue board or rescue craft: Approach 5 metres on the beach; enter the water with a rescue craft; pick up a victim 100 metres away and return to shore.

7. *Demonstrate skin diving skills: Wearing mask, fins and snorkel, swim 5 metres at the surface; headfirst surface dive and swim 15 metres underwater; surface, purge snorkel and swim 5 metres at the surface.

8. *Demonstrate an effective search of the surf beach for a missing person as both a member and a leader of a lifeguard team.

9a. *Demonstrate effective management of a distressed or drowning victim in deep water.

9b. *Demonstrate effective management of a submerged, non-breathing victim and perform 10 cycles of 30 compressions: 2 ventilations on a CPR manikin.

9c. *Demonstrate effective management of a suspected spinal-injured victim with the assistance of backup lifeguards and bystanders.

9d. *Demonstrate effective management of an injured swimmer.

10. Respond to emergency situations as a single lifeguard and as both a member and a leader of a lifeguard team.