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Water Safety Instructor Class

Course Purpose:

The purpose of the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course is to train instructor candidates to teach courses and presentations in the American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety program by developing their understanding of how to use the course materials, how to conduct training sessions and how to evaluate participants’ progress.


To participate in the Water Safety Instructor course, individuals must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age on or before the final scheduled lesson of this course.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform the following swimming skills:
    1. Swim the following strokes consistent with the Stroke Performance Charts, Level 4 (see here for Level 4 standards)
      • Front crawl—25 yards
      • Back crawl—25 yards
      • Breaststroke—25 yards
      • Elementary backstroke—25 yards
      • Sidestroke—25 yards
      • Butterfly—15 yards
    2. Maintain position on back for 1 minute in deep water (floating or sculling).
    3. Tread water for 1 minute.

Course Objectives:

  • Upon successful completion of the Water Safety Instructor course, instructor candidates should be able to:
  • Identify key elements and strategies for planning and preparing effective and safe swim lessons.
  • Identify key class management principles, elements and strategies for planning, preparing and conducting safe swim lessons.
  • Describe the importance of effective observation for teaching and how to develop it.
  • Observe swimming, headfirst entry and diving skills, and accurately classify them and suggest appropriate interventions to improve them.
  • Develop the ability to effectively communicate about participants’ progress in swim lessons.
  •  Modify teaching to meet unexpected challenges, including dealing with participants who misbehave.
  • Demonstrate the ability to accommodate participants who move, learn, communicate and behave differently.