Lifesaving Society

Canada's lifeguarding experts - working to prevent drowning for over 100 years.

The Lifesaving Society is a full service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning. We save lives and prevent water-related injury through our training programs, Water Smart® public education, aquatic safety management services, lifesaving sport and water incident research.

We are a national volunteer organization and registered charity composed of tens of thousands of individual members, and over 2,000 affiliated swimming pools, waterfronts, schools, and clubs. We are a leader and partner in the delivery of water safety education throughout Canada and around the world. The Society operates globally in over 40 countries. We represent Canada internationally in the Royal Life Saving Society and the International Life Saving Federation.

In Canada, we have been teaching water safety and water rescue to Canadians since 1896. Established in England (1891) as The Swimmers' Life Saving Society, we became The Royal Life Saving Society in 1904. Today, Canadians know us as simply the Lifesaving Society.

Teaching Canadians to save themselves and rescue others

Annually, 1.2 million Canadians participate in our swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, first aid and leadership programs. Each year we certify thousands of instructors who provide the leadership for our training programs. Over 25,000 Canadians earn our Bronze Medallion each year. As Canada's lifeguarding experts, we set the standard for lifeguard training and certify Canada's National Lifeguards.

Making Canadians Water Smart®
The Lifesaving Society focuses research-based Water Smart® drowning prevention efforts on people most at risk - like men fishing in small boats - or on those who can make a significant difference, such as parents of young children.

We deliver Water Smart® messages through our Swim Program, through the media and through community action. Our Swim to Survive® Program provides the essential minimum skills required to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.

Setting the Standard
The Lifesaving Society establishes the aquatic safety standards and consults on aquatic safety issues for the aquatic industry, governments and the judiciary. The Society offers a suite of services to help aquatic facility operators maintain and improve safe pool and waterfront operations. We perform aquatic safety audits and serve as experts in legal cases involving aquatic safety.

Lifesaving Sport
The Lifesaving Society is the Canadian governing body for lifesaving sport - a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation. We organize annual championships for juniors, seniors and masters athletes and coordinate Canada's National Lifesaving Team participation in international competition.

Water Incident Research
The Lifesaving Society conducts research into fatal and non-fatal drowning, aquatic injury and rescue interventions. Ongoing research and analysis supports the Society's evidence-based water rescue training and Water Smart® education.

Lifesaving Society Alberta and Northwest Territories

The Alberta and Northwest Territories Branch serves the Society's provincial and territorial affiliates, individual members and the general public. The Branch also serves as the official liaison with the provincial and territorial governments and their agencies.

Some Lifesaving Society products and programs are nationally recognized throughout the country; however, each branch has the ability to develop and deliver its own products and programs. As an affiliate of the Alberta and Northwest Territories Branch, you can license our products and programs to suit your needs. Public and private facilities or business can affiliate with the AB & NWT Lifesaving Society as well as individual members. In addition to our provincial/territorial affiliates, other Society branches and organizations and individuals within Canada and internationally can also affiliate to license our programs or products.

The Society also works together with our many partnerships to promote water safety education and awareness. Other partners include government agencies that provide funding and sponsorship to allow for the development of new programs.

Canada's Lifeguarding Experts

Setting the standard for lifeguarding in Canada for over 50 years

‘Quemcunque miserum videris hominem scias’ which means 'Whomsoever you see in distress, recognize in them a fellow human being.'

The Society has a long and proud history of drowning and injury prevention leadership in Canada. The Society traces its roots to the late 19th Century in London, England with the beginning of the Swimmers' Life Saving Society.

Today, we are known to Canadians as the Lifesaving Society, Canada's lifeguarding expert. As a national volunteer organization and registered charity, we stand committed to the ideals that first formed the Society back in the 1800s. Over the past century we have expanded our programs, been on the forefront of research and embraced innovative thinking.


The Lifesaving Society serves all Canadians by providing information and skills that promote safety in, on and around water. The Society is the Canadian authority in aquatic lifesaving education and lifeguarding. The Society is a leader and partner in the delivery of water safety education in Canada and around the world.

In striving to reach its vision, the Society:

  • maintains a strong foundation in research and collaborates with organizations working to advance safety education;
  • demonstrates leadership and skills in strategic thinking and operational decision-making through its Board of Directors;
  • ensures representation from all regions of Canada and facilitates the Society's work and resource development in all regions;
  • ensures each region of Canada is represented by strong Branches, which provide diverse and flexible delivery methods for program and public education.

Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth

The Royal Life Saving Society is the Commonwealth's largest water-safety education, lifesaving and lifeguard training organization and is represented in over 50 countries with over 2 million lifesaving and resuscitation awards taken annually worldwide.

The Society is a charity registered with the Charity Commission and is governed by Royal Charter.

The Role of the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth Headquarters is to take a leadership and partnership role in coordinating drowning prevention initiatives and activities world-wide by facilitating the development of community based drowning prevention strategies and lifesaving education programmes across Commonwealth nations. 

HM Queen Elizabeth II is the Patron of the Royal Life Saving Society and HRH Prince Michael of Kent GCVO is the active Commonwealth President. 

The Society is governed by the Commonwealth Management Committee which functions as our Trustee Board.  The Commonwealth Management Committee is made up of elected branch Presidents representing the Society's three regional areas (Asia Pacific, Americas/Caribbean and Africa/Europe).

The operational functions of the Society are delegated to Commonwealth Headquarters, supported by a number of sub Committees focusing on Business Development, Lifesaving Development and Lifesaving Sport Development.