Diploma is the highest award offered by the Lifesaving Society. It is designed for those seeking a challenging opportunity to demonstrate exceptional lifesaving ability and leadership. The Diploma award encourages excellence in practical ability and theoretical knowledge either by the development of superior aquatic skills (Part A1) or through the completion of a major project or assignment (Part A2).

Prerequisites: Distinction, NLS, or Lifesaving Instructor.

Evaluation: All items are evaluated by a Lifesaving Society examiner.

A minimum total of 66 percent on both Part A and Part B, the written exam, is a passing grade. Less than 50 percent in any one item (including the numbered parts of Part B) constitutes a failure. A total of 80 percent on both Part A and Part B is a pass with honours. Fractional marks may be used.

Numerical marking, unique to the Diploma award, discriminates between a pass and an honours performance. A minimum passing mark is obtained by meeting the Must Sees. Honours marks are obtained by completing the test items to near perfection.

It may be useful to combine small Diploma classes with other classes, such as Distinction, to provide an adequate number of candidates to perform rescues, etc.

Test items:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and techniques of water rescue and the importance of increasing public awareness of the responsibility each Canadian assumes when working or playing in, on or near the water. Complete a comprehensive theoretical written exam (Part B) based on the contents of the current edition of the Canadian Lifesaving Manual, Alert: Lifeguarding in Action and other literature as specified from time to time.
  2. Demonstrate ANY TWO of the following three items:
    1. Carrying a passive victim 50 m in 1 minute and 15 seconds, using a control carry. Both you and the victim would be starting in the water.
    2. Swimming head-up, 25 m in 16 seconds.
    3. Wearing a shirt and pants, entering the water and swimming a 15 m approach. Surface diving to recover a submerged, non-breathing victim from a depth of 2—3 m and surfacing in 20 seconds. Moving the victim to the nearest point of safety and applying rescue breathing.
  3. Demonstrate the following:
    1. Entering the water with equipment and then donning a mask, fins and snorkel underwater. Clearing the mask and snorkel on one breath. Surfacing and swimming 25 m, demonstrating the ability to use the equipment effectively.
    2. Removing from the water three types of victims in circumstances described by the examiner.
    3. Four consecutive and stationary somersaults (two forward and two backyard) in a tuck position.
  4. Perform a rescue in a situation designed to emphasize decision-making (priorities), leadership and competent emergency care for a victim suffering from one of the following:
    • Heart attack
    • Diabetic emergency
    • Seizure
    • Spinal injury
    • Head injury
    • Note that the situation may involve more than one victim, trained or untrained bystanders, and other rescuers.

  5. Direct a rescue in circumstances in which you are unable to intervene or act directly. Assume a leadership role in assessing the situation and determining victim type(s) and the extent of injuries, if any. Direct bystanders or others in the performance of the rescue.
  6. Swim continuously 800 m in 17 minutes, using these strokes in the following order:
    • 200 m front crawl
    • 200 m back crawl
    • 200 m breaststroke
    • 200 m choice of stroke