Lifeguard Training


Learn the skills needed to prevent and respond to emergencies, while
earning the certification needed to work as a pool lifeguard!

The American Red Cross Lifeguarding course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies and to provide care for breathing and cardiac emergencies and injuries until advanced personnel take over. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive 2-year certification in ARC Lifeguarding, First Aid, and CPR/AED for professional rescuers.     

American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Courses

As a Licensed Training Provider for the American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County Parks/Simpkins Family Swim Center offers Lifeguard courses throughout the fall, winter, and spring (Jan-May, Aug-Nov). Lifeguard certifcation courses are not available at Simpkins Family Swim Center during the Summer season due to other aquatics programing.   

All courses are "blended learning" format, consisting of independent online coursework followed by in-person skill sessions.

A strong swimming prerequisite and physical stamina are necessary to participate and succeed in the American Red Cross Lifeguard certification course. Please see prerequisite swim test below.    


American Red Cross Lifeguard Training Prerequisites & Pre-Course Swim Assessment
  • Must be at least 15 years of age by course completion.
  • Swim 300 yards continuously, demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing using both front crawl (freestyle) and breaststroke.
  • Without the use of goggles, complete the following in under 1 minute 40 seconds: Swim out 20 yards, submerge to a depth of 7-10 feet and retrieve a 10lb object, swim back 20 yards with both hands holding the object while keeping the face at or near the surface, exit the pool without using ladder or steps.
  • Tread water for 2 minutes using only the legs. Candidates must be able to maintain an upright body position with their head above the surface of the water for the full 2 minutes.
  • Candidates who cannot complete the pre-course swim assessment before the class begins are not eligible to continue in the American Red Cross Lifeguarding course and will receive a full refund.
Step One

Contact us to register for a course or schedule a pre-course swim assessment date/time at the swim center. 

Step Two

After completing the pre-requisite swim test you will be given access to the online course via Red Cross Learning Center.  The online portion of the certification course (approx 8 hours) must be completed before attending skills sessions. 

Step Three

Attend in-person skill sessions. To sucessfully pass the course and earn 2-year certification, lifeguarding candidates must be able to independantly demonstrate the required CPR and rescue skills, demonstrate sucess in multiple-responder team scenarios, and pass a multiple-choice test with at least 80% by the course conclusion date.   

How to Register Online
  • Create an account on ActiveNet.
  • Navigate to Activities.
  • Select your desired program.
  • Register and complete payment.
  • Thanks for choosing County Parks!
Lifeguard Training Programs Fees & Information
  • Winter/Spring 2023 Lifeguard Training DatesPDF
  • For Winter/Spring 2023 we are offering ongoing blended-learning certification courses with bi-weekly skills dates to complete certification. See upcoming dates and information on pdf flyer above.
  • Please call 454-7964 or email for more information 

Contact Us


(831) 454-7960

Monday – Friday 6:00 AM to 7:45 PM, except holidays

Our physical office is open, but staff availability is limited as some staff members are working remotely.