The NLS Core course teaches the basic principles of lifeguarding in any aquatic situation.

Prerequisites: Bronze Cross, current Standard First Aid Certification and 16 years old.

Evaluation: Items marked with an asterisk (*) are instructor-evaluated. Where applicable, examiners may evaluate any or all of these items at their discretion.

Test items:

  1. * Throughout practical activities, you must be prepared to answer questions on your understanding of the principles and techniques of lifeguarding included in the NLS test items. In addition, you must be prepared to answer questions drawn from the Canadian Lifesaving Manual and Alert: Lifeguarding in Action, including:
    • Explain the role and responsibilities of the NLS lifeguard in terms of role modelling, prevention and rescue (Alert, Chapter 1).
    • Describe critical incident stress and how it can impact lifeguards responding to both successful and unsuccessful rescues (Canadian Lifesaving Manual, Appendix A; Alert, Chapter 6).
    • Define the legal obligations of the lifeguard in terms of duty and standard of care, liability and negligence (Alert, Chapter 8).
    • Provide an example of a training activity to improve one component of physical fitness (muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed, power or flexibility) as identified by the evaluator.
    • Explain how to adapt emergency procedures for a facility with only one trained lifeguard on duty and how to use auxiliary staff or bystanders. Discuss the value of written procedures as part of the staff manual.
    • Provide an example of the regulations that apply to workplace health and safety for lifeguards (for example, WHMIS, Occupational Health and Safety, and Worker’s Compensation).
  2. * Demonstrate effective communication with:
    1. The public (public relations) and victims.
    2. Fellow lifeguards, supervisor(s) and employer, emergency services personnel and co-workers (for example, cashiers and custodial staff).
  3. * Demonstrate effective management of the following victim types:
    1. Drowning victim.
    2. Submerged non-breathing victim.
    3. Victim with a suspected spinal injury.
  4. * Demonstrate the ability to recognize individuals or groups that may require lifeguard intervention or education to prevent an injury.