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Aquatic Certifications

Open the door to employment possibilities. At the Y, we have been exercising, inventing sports and promoting an active lifestyle for over a century. In fact, the YMCA developed the first national aquatic program!

A career as a lifeguard and or swim instructor provides the opportunity for you to develop leadership and communication skills, and grow your athletic abilities, build your confidence and make an impact in your community. 


Becoming a Lifeguard or Swim Instructor

As a certified YMCA Canada Swim Instructor, you are qualified to teach swimming lessons at Y’s across the country. We also offer a range of Lifesaving and Lifeguarding courses as a provincial and national affiliate to the Lifesaving Society of Canada.

Bronze Star to Bronze Medallion to Bronze Cross then either Swim Instructor or National Lifeguard
Bronze Star

Bronze Star provides preparation for success in Bronze Medallion. Participants develop problem-solving and decision-making skills individually and with partners. Participants also learn CPR and develop lifesaving skills. Includes a timed 400 m swim.

  • Recommended: 12 years & Star 4

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Bronze Medallion

Enhance your understanding of the lifesaving principles that make up the four components of water rescue: judgment, knowledge, skill and fitness. Learn tows, carries and release methods in preparation for challenging rescues of increased risk. Lifesavers learn to respond to increasingly complex situations involving conscious and unconscious people in contact and non-contact rescues. Participants develop stroke efficiency and endurance with a timed swim.

Textbook and course materials will be provided by the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg.

  • Prerequisites: Bronze Star by first day of course or 13 years old by date of exam

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Bronze Cross

Designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safe supervision in aquatic facilities as an assistant lifeguard. Bronze Cross teaches the difference between lifesaving and lifeguarding, the principles of emergency procedures and teamwork. Lifesavers and assistant lifeguards build on the skills from Bronze Medallion, gaining a better understanding of the management of an emergency situation. Bronze Cross is the stepping stone prerequisite for advanced training programs in lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership (the Distinction Award, the National Lifeguard Service Award and the Lifesaving Instructor Award).

Please bring your Canadian Lifesaving Manual and a Fox40 whistle. Can't find your manual? A copy can be purchased through Lifesaving Society Manitoba.

  • Prerequisite: Bronze Medallion
  • To become certified, candidates need to attend 100% of the course. No exceptions can be accommodated. 

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National Lifeguard, Aquatic Emergency Care and CPR

This certification program includes National Lifeguard (NL), Aquatic Emergency Care (AEC) and CPR.  

Advance your YMCA aquatic leadership to a peak level! The National Lifeguard-Pool Award builds on the fundamental skills, knowledge and values taught in the awards of the Canadian Lifesaving Program to develop the practical skills and knowledge required by professional lifeguards. National Lifeguard training develops a sound understanding of lifeguarding principles, good judgment, and a mature and responsible attitude toward the lifeguard’s role. National Lifeguard training emphasizes prevention and effective rescue response in emergencies, including first aid treatment. The National Lifeguard program is designed to prepare lifeguards to fulfill this role as professional facilitators of safe, enjoyable aquatic experiences.  All textbooks are included in the NL/AEC/CPR course cost. 

  • Prerequisite: 15 years old & Bronze Cross

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YMCA Swim Instructor

Share your love of swimming with others! As a leader in the pool, you can play an essential role in helping others learn to swim and improve their health in many ways. You will learn a variety of teaching techniques, lesson planning, progressions, and more. You will complete your certification ready to teach swimming, lifesaving and aquatic activities for the YMCA Canada swim program. To become certified, candidates need to attend 100% of the course and complete Standard First Aid within three months of attending the course.

  • Prerequisites: 15 years old (must be 16 years old by certification date) and Bronze Cross

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Lifesaving Society’s Distinction Award

The Lifesaving Society’s Distinction Award encourages a maturity of response to demanding aquatic emergency situations and is designed to develop advanced water rescue skills and knowledge and an understanding of the principles of fitness training. Distinction challenges include implications of assuming responsibility in an emergency, how to deal with two victims at once and rescue of a non-breathing spinal-injured victim. Inherent in the name of the Award, lifesavers must perform every item with distinction.

  • Prerequisite: Bronze Cross


Learning First Aid

Standard First Aid with CPR C

This comprehensive first aid course provides CPR skills for those who need training due to work requirements or who want more knowledge to respond to emergencies at home. You will learn emergency first aid skills as well as how to respond to sudden medical emergencies, head and spinal injuries and environmental emergencies. A manual and a certificate are provided upon completion.

  • Prerequisite: 16 years old

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Emergency First Aid

An 8-hour course for people who want a general knowledge of first aid principles and the emergency treatment of injuries, this course includes CPR C and AED training.  Recognized by Manitoba Workplace Health and Safety, certification is valid for two years.

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