Aquatic Essentials: Training and Certifications for Lifeguards and Pool Staff

Are you managing an aquatic team? Make sure they are up to date when it comes to certifications and poolside trainings. 

Here’s what you need to consider…

  1. Lifeguard Certification:

    • Ensure lifeguards are certified by accredited organizations. The American Red Cross, YMCA, Ellis and Associates and StarGuard Elite are nationally recognized programs. 
    • Keep a nearly organized file containing the copies of all current and former staff members. 
    • Make an easily accessible spreadsheet noting expiration dates of all certs.
    • Check all certifications monthly and proactively require recertification as needed.
    • Consider running in-house certifications to make for convenient updates. 
  2. CPR/AED and First Aid Training:

    • Require lifeguards to maintain current CPR and first aid certifications.
    • Train lifeguards in the use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for rapid response to cardiac emergencies.
    • Ensure AEDs are readily accessible and regularly maintained.
    • Conduct regular drills and scenarios to practice emergency response skills.
    • Follow the protocols listed in step one to ensure continued compliance. 
  3. In-Service Training:

    • Implement ongoing in-service training to review and reinforce lifeguard skills.
    • Schedule regular skill assessments and mock rescues to maintain readiness.
    • Find more information on topics to cover here: In-Service Topics for Lifeguards
  4. Water Safety Education and Rule Enforcement:

    • Provide lifeguards with training in water safety principles and risk assessment.
    • Ensure lifeguards are knowledgeable about pool rules and regulations.
    • Schedule regular meetings to discuss rules and their consistent enforcement amongst your team. 
  5. Emergency Action Plan (EAP):

    • Develop and regularly update a comprehensive Emergency Action Plan.
    • Conduct regular drills to ensure lifeguards and staff are familiar with emergency procedures.
    • For more information on Emergency Action Plans, check out our EAP building article
  6. Customer Service Training:

    • Train lifeguards and staff in effective communication and customer service skills.
    • Encourage a friendly and approachable demeanor with pool patrons.
    • Train lifeguards to provide good customer service while still keeping safety of pool patrons as their top priority. 
  7. Communication and Rotations

    • Emphasize the importance of teamwork and communication among lifeguard staff.
    • Determine communication strategies between guards when in and out of the guard chair. 
    • Develop protocols for distance-communication using whistles and radios as needed. 
    • Train on proper rotation schedules and procedures to ensure uninterrupted scanning. 
  8. Record Keeping:

    • Maintain accurate records of lifeguard certifications and training including CPR, AED, O2 Administration and First Aid
    • Document incidents, drills, and emergency responses for review and improvement.
    • If required, file and maintain pool operations certificates, water safety instructor documents and other compliance certifications.
    • Record and file incident and accident reports. 
    • Record and file all pool operations and chemical treatment documentation. 
    • Consider digital filing of key records.