Lifeguard Training


Whether you’re looking for a great summer job or a career as a professional lifeguard, the YMCA Lifeguard Training Program by the America Red Cross is the place to begin.

Lifeguards learn not only valuable skills such as CPR and in-water rescue, but they also develop leadership qualities, communication and team-building skills, and improved self-confidence.

The comprehensive course offers up-to-date information on how to guard by anticipating and preventing problems before they occur and how to take action to help those in danger when necessary.


The purpose of the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course is to provide entry-level lifeguard participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize, and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, injuries, and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. This class is taught by a certified instructor.

This training course is an American Red Cross training.

Participants must pass the prerequisite swim test to sign up for this course.

Participants MUST be at least 15 years old by the final day of the in-person class.

To participate in the course, you must be able to pass the Pre-requisite Skills Evaluation by doing the following: 

1. Swim 300 yards continuously demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You may swim using the front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both but swimming on the back or side is not allowed. Swim goggles may be used.

2. Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. You should place your hands under your armpits.

3. Complete a timed event within 1 minute, 40 seconds.

  • Starting in the water, swim 20 yards. Your face may be in or out of the water. Swim goggles are not allowed.
  • Surface dive, feet-first or head-first, to a depth of 7 to 10 feet to retrieve a 10-pound object.
  • Return to the surface and swim 20 yards on your back to return to the starting point with both hands holding the object while keeping your face at or near the surface so you are able to get a breath. You should not swim the distance under water. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps.
4. Once you complete the Pre-Requisite Skills, we will invite you to sign up for our upcoming courses held at the Ridgewood YMCA.


Looking for a place to take a crew test?

The Ridgewood Y offer periodic testing based on demand. Click below to see current test dates: 

Questions? Contact Meaghan Donnelly at 201.444.5600 x 319 or [email protected] for more information.