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.     
Due to COVID-19, information on this page is subject to change.
Please check for updates.

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 seasonally (Feb-May, Aug-Oct). Due to other concurrent aquatic programs, lifeguard certifcation courses are not available at Simpkins Family Swim Center during the Summer season.   

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 in Lifeguard certification courses. Please see course prerequisite swim test below, and for more information on lifeguard certifcation or to search for courses offered by other providers    


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 after viewing the course schedule and checking your calendar— Online registration is not available due to limited spaces. Participants must attend all skills sessions for the course offering in which they enroll.

Step Two

Complete pre-course swim assessment at the Swim Center to receive online access to course materials. The online portion of the course must be completed independantly before attending CPR session and in-water skill sessions the following week.

Step Three

Attend in-person skill sessions. To sucessfully pass the course participants 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.  Study guide packets for the lifeguarding course content will be provided at your time of registration/pre-course swim assessment.  

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

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.