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USLA Lifeguard Agency Certification Programs
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USLA Certification Process Overview

USLA Certification Applications (new and renewals)

The United States Lifesaving Association is recognized nationally and internationally for our programs that set minimum recommended standards for the training, equipping, and preparedness of those assigned to prevent drowning and other injury in the open water environment. Since 1993, the USLA has certified (accredited) agencies and organizations which demonstrate that they meet USLA standards.

Under the USLA system, the USLA does not conduct training, but instead allows the employer to do so, using its own trainers, in a manner consistent with USLA standards. This system ensures that national standards are met, with a focus on local conditions. It is used by some of the most respected aquatic safety agencies in the US..

USLA Certification programs:

  • Open Water Lifeguard Agency Certification: This certification is for open water lifeguard agencies that can demonstrate that they operate in accordance with the USLA guidelines for Open Water Lifeguard Agency Certification. As part of the application process (both new and renewals), applicants must upload copies of existing agency policies addressing the required health and fitness, swimming ability, CPR training, and medical aid training for all lifeguard personnel (example policies here). All trainees must be provided a copy of Open Water Lifesaving – The United States Lifesaving Association Manual (3rd edition 2017). Certified agencies are provided no-cost access to training materials, including a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, lesson plans, skill sheets, and quizzes.

  • Aquatic Rescue Response Teams (ARRT) Certification: This certification is for aquatic rescue response teams which typically respond to reports of emergencies from 9-1-1 callers and other sources. Applicant agencies and organizations must demonstrate that they operate in accordance with the USLA guidelines for Aquatic Rescue Response Teams. As part of the application process (both new and renewals), applicants must upload a copy of existing agency swim requirement policy for all team members (example policies here) and the required course curriculum. All trainees must be provided a copy of Open Water Lifesaving – The United States Lifesaving Association Manual (3rd edition 2017). Certified agencies are provided no-cost access to training materials, including a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, lesson plans, skill sheets, and quizzes.

  • Personal Rescue Watercraft (PRWC) Certification: This certification is for agencies currently certified under the Lifeguard Agency Certification Program that can demonstrate that their personal rescue watercraft programs operate in accordance with the USLA guidelines for Using Personal Watercraft as a Rescue Tool.

Applications for certification are reviewed for completeness and adherence to minimum standards by our national staff. They are then referred to USLA Certification Officers near the applying agencies. The National Certification Committee forwards applications determined to be in compliance to the USLA Board of Directors for final approval. Final review of applications takes place twice each year in April and November. Certification extends for three years, so long as agencies maintain the standards demonstrated in their application, after which agencies must reapply. Agencies may pay by credit card, checking account or request an invoice. The cost is $500.

Application Instructions (please read and print a copy for your reference before proceeding)

Lifeguard Agency Certification Program application

Aquatic Rescue Response Team certification application

Personal Rescue Watercraft certification application

NOTE: For assistance during the application process, you are welcome to contact the USLA Certification Program Administrator. You may also contact the USLA National Certification Committee Chair.

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