National Lifeguard Waterfront

National Lifeguard Waterfront

The National Lifeguard Waterfront certification is designed to develop the fundamental values, judgment, knowledge, skills and fitness required by waterfront lifeguards. The NL Waterfront course emphasizes the lifeguarding skills, principles and practices, and the decision-making processes which will assist the lifeguard to provide effective safety supervsion in waterfront environments.

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

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

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


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 Waterfront is current for 2 years. 

 Please note that the Lifesaving Society does not grant extensions to certifications.

Evaluation and Other Items: 

 1. *Demonstrate knowledge of the principles and techniques of lifeguarding included in the NLS test items, and answer questions drawn from the Canadian Lifesaving Manual (CLM) and Alert: Lifeguarding in Action, including:

  • Explain the role and responsibilities of the NLS lifeguard in terms of role-modeling, prevention and rescue.
  • Describe how critical incident stress can impact lifeguards responding to both successful and unsuccessful rescues.
  • Define the legal obligations of the lifeguard in terms of duty and standard of care, liability and negligence. 
  • Provide an example of a training activity to improve one component of physical fitness (muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed, power or flexibility) as identified by the evaluator.
  • Explain how to adapt emergency procedures for a waterfront with only one trained lifeguard on duty; how to use auxiliary staff or bystanders; and discuss the value of written procedures as part of the staff manual.
  • Provide examples of regulations that govern workplace health and safety for lifeguards (e.g., WHMIS, Occupational Health and Safety, Worker's Compensation) and legislation regarding harassment and violence in the workplace.
  • Explain the benefits of oxygen therapy, automated external defibrillation (AED) and oropharyngealairways.
  • Explain proper selection of rescue equipment appropriate for open-water environments including:mask, fins and snorkel, rescue craft.
2a. *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 6 minutes.
2b. *Demonstrate anaerobic fitness: Approach 5 metres on the beach with a rescue aid and fins; enter the
water, don fins and swim 50 metres.
2c. *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.
3. *Demonstrate an understanding of:
  • Features that vary from waterfront to waterfront (or from time to time) and how analysis of these affects lifeguarding.
  • Environmental hazards of a waterfront.
4. *Demonstrate effective communication with patrons, victims, other lifeguards, supervisors and emergency service personnel.
5a. *Demonstrate effective waterfront supervision using observation skills and scanning techniques.
5b. Demonstrate effective waterfront supervision using lifeguard positioning and rotation
5c. Demonstrate an ability to recognize situations in which early lifeguard intervention may prevent a rescue emergency.
 6. *Demonstrate three entries with a rescue aid and three removals appropriate for a waterfront environment.
7. *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.
8. *Demonstrate skin diving skills: Wearing mask, fins and snorkel, swim 5 metres at the surface; head-first surface dive and swim 15 metres underwater; surface, purge snorkel and swim 5 metres at the surface.
9. *Demonstrate an effective search of the waterfront for a missing person as both a member and a leader of a lifeguard team.
10a.*Demonstrate effective management of a distressed or drowning victim in deep water.
10b.*Demonstrate effective management of a submerged, non-breathing victim and perform 10 cycles of 30
compressions: 2 ventilation on a CPR manikin.
10c.*Demonstrate effective management of a suspected spinal-injured victim with the assistance of back-up lifeguards and bystanders.
10d.*Demonstrate effective management of an injured swimmer.
11. Respond to emergency situations as a single lifeguard and as both a member and a leader of a lifeguard team.