Lifeguard Certification

We're hiring—join our team as a lifeguard! See current openings here or email Sammee Schaller a

Become a certified lifeguard through the American Red Cross! 

Registration is available online for members and the community. Those who have visited the Y before may access their online account using an email the Y has on file or the phone number of the primary user on the account. If not already in our YMCA system, please join as a Non-Member on our "Join Online" page to register for programs. When registering someone 12 and under, a parent or guardian must register first as the Primary Adult. Please call or stop by the Y if you need assistance.

Register Today!

Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA
May 7-May 30
6:00-8:30 PM
$250/new certification

*In order to run a successful lifeguard course, at least 3 participants must be signed up. In addition, participants must have time to complete the blended learning.

Course: For first-time lifeguards or lifeguards who have let their certification lapse. Participants will receive a handbook, CPR mask, whistle, and certification valid for 2 years. Must turn 15 years old prior to completion of the course. Additionally, participants will receive a link from the American Red Cross for blended learning approximately one week before the start of class. This module takes 7 hours to complete and there will be an exam at the end that will certify them in CPR and AED. This must be completed before the first day of class. Participants will review the content from the blended learning in class as well. Participants must pass a prerequisite skills evaluation on the first day, consisting of the following:

  • Swim 300 yards continuously, including freestyle and breaststroke. No swimming on back.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes, using only the legs.
  • Retrieve a 10-lb dive weight from 7 ft deep, surface and swim 20 yards on their back with the weight, using legs only, and exit the pool within 100 seconds.

Course + Waterfront: Waterfront training is required for lifeguards who wish to use their skills to prevent and respond to emergencies in non-surf, open water areas found at public parks, resorts, summer camps, and campgrounds. Course + Waterfront participants must pass a prerequisite skills evaluation on the first day, consisting of the following:

  • Swim 550 yards, continuously.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes, using only the legs.
  • Swim 20 yards, retrieve brick off the bottom, return to the starting point and climb out in 1 minute and 40 seconds.
  • Retrieve three dive rings placed 5 yards apart in 4 to 7 feet of water.

Re-Certification: For any lifeguard whose certification is getting ready to expire.