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Information and Review - Junior Lifeguard Programs



Junior lifeguard programs are provided by lifeguard agencies affiliated with USLA.  Professional lifeguard instructors teach water safety such as rip currents, tides and ocean hazards.   In addition, your child will be educated in first aid techniques, paddling, kayaking, ocean swimming, rescue techniques and general knowledge of lifeguard duties and lifeguard equipment.  In most locations these programs are offered in the summer months.  Participants learn safety in a fun and challenging atmosphere.

The goals of these programs

  • To educate participants in the necessary skills to help others in an emergency situation.

  • To provide knowledge so young people can handle themselves safely in ocean situations.

  • To increase awareness of our environment.

  • To build a sense of self respect and self confidence.

  • To teach team building skills.

Age Requirements

Participants are girls and boys usually between the ages of 9 and 17.  There are some programs that will start at an earlier age.  The programs vary in length anywhere from 1 week to 8 weeks.  Programs are usually about 3 hours per day.  Some programs offer a morning session and an afternoon session.  Classes are normally 4-5 days per week, Monday thru Friday.  It really depends on what is offered in your area.  Although programs vary, participants are usually placed into age divisions.  An example:

 16-17 years old
 14-15 years old
12-13 years old
  9-11 years old

Registration and Try-Outs

Registration and tryouts for these programs is usually in April or May. Due to the popularity of the program, enrollment is usually limited for each session. Applications are accepted on a first come first serve basis.

Some programs require applicants to try-out and pass a pre-requisite swim test to be eligible to participate in the program.  Example of possible swimming requirements:


Swim Times:

ages 14-17 - 100 yards under 1:30

ages 12-13 - 100 yards under 1:40

ages 9-11 -  100 yards under 1:50

ages 16-17 -500 yards under 7:30

Swim 100 yards in 1:50 minutes or faster

Swim underwater 10 yards without coming up for a breath

Tread water for five minutes

How much will it cost?

The fees vary based on the type of program.  Obviously, an 8 week program will be more expensive than a one week program.  Fees can be as high as $100 to $400 per junior lifeguard or as low as a 25 donation per applicant. Uniforms of some sort are usually required.  In some programs it is your responsibility to purchase them and it other programs the uniform is included in the fee. Uniforms are usually a tee-shirt and bathing suit and will run about 45.00 if you need to purchase it. 

Important items to take with you ...

Pack a bag containing:

  • sunscreen

  • water bottle

  • towel(s)

  • hat

  • t-shirt

  • rash guard

  • medical necessities such as inhalers, epi-pens, lactaid pills

  • bag lunch (depending on program)

Where to find Junior Lifeguard Programs: