Lifesaving Programs

The Lifesaving Program includes the Canadian Swim Patrol Program, Bronze Medal awards, National Lifeguard Service® (NL) awards, and other awards and programs. Leadership Programs are for instructors/examiners.

Canadian Swim Patrol

The Canadian Swim Patrol program provides enriched training for those who are ready to go beyond learn-to-swim. Swim Patrol has three levels: Rookie, Ranger, and Star. These programs continue to develop participants’ swim strokes and provide the skill foundation that prepares them for success in the Society’s Bronze Medal awards. Each level of the Canadian Swim Patrol program has three modules: Water Proficiency, First Aid, and Recognition & Rescue.

Rookie Patrol

Develops individual fitness levels to meet a timed 100m swim and 350m workout. Water proficiency skills include: swims with clothes, ready position, foot-first and head-first surface dives. Demonstrating an ability to conduct a primary assessment and initiating EMS are included as first aid skills. Victim recognition and throwing assists are other key elements of the program.

Ranger Patrol

Enhances capability in the water, including stride entry, underwater forward and backward somersaults, lifesaving eggbeater kick and increased fitness levels to meet a 200m timed swim. Rescue skills involve an increased skill level in first aid basics, victim recognition and non-contact rescues.

Star Patrol

An excellent preparation for the Bronze Star award, Star Patrol demands good physical conditioning and lifesaving judgment. Participants develop lifesaving and first aid skills; further refine front crawl, back crawl and breaststroke (100m each); and complete 600m workouts and for 300m timed swims.

Bronze Medals

Bronze Star

The Lifesaving Society’s Bronze Star develops swimming proficiency, lifesaving skill, and personal fitness. Candidates refine their stroke mechanics, acquire self-rescue skills, and apply fitness principles in training workouts. Bronze Star is excellent preparation for success in Bronze Medallion and provides a fun introduction to lifesaving sport.

Bronze Medallion

The Lifesaving Society’s Bronze Medallion challenges the candidate both mentally and physically. Judgement, knowledge, skill, and fitness – the four components of water rescue – form the basis of Bronze Medallion training. Candidates acquire the assessment and problem-solving skills needed to make good decisions in, on, and around the water. Bronze Medallion is a pre-requisite for assistant lifeguard training in Bronze Cross.

Pre-requisite(s): 13 years of age (or Bronze Star) and CPR-C.

Bronze Cross

The Lifesaving Society’s Bronze Cross begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as an assistant lifeguard. Candidates strengthen and expand their lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross emphasized the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Bronze Cross is a pre-requisite for advanced training in the Society’s National Lifeguard and leadership certification programs.

Pre-requisite(s): Bronze Medallion and Intermediate First Aid CPR-C & AED.

Advanced Lifesaving


Distinction encourages a maturity to respond to demanding aquatic emergency situations and is designed to develop advanced water rescue skill and knowledge, and an understanding of the principles of fitness training. Distinction challenges include implications of assuming responsibility in an emergency and how to deal with two victims at once. Inherent in the name of the award, lifesavers must perform every item with distinction.

Prerequisite(s): Bronze Cross


Diploma (Commonwealth Award) The Royal Lifesaving Society Diploma is a historic award which has taken on many forms in its history. Diploma is awarded for exceptional pieces of research in the field of lifesaving and drowning prevention. Diploma offers an opportunity to share research across all member nations. Please consult a branch representative for further information and process.

For more information on our Lifesaving Programs, refer to the Policies & Procedures.