The Y lifeguard certification is a nationally recognized certification that is accepted in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Y has a long history and tradition in lifesaving and water safety since we created the first national lifesaving service corps in 1912.

Our certification course provides participants with the knowledge and skills needed to be a lifeguard and professional rescuer. The 36-hour course (27.5 hours in-person training and 8.5 hours of eLearning) teaches lifeguards how to effectively perform their duties in the pool, lake, river, surf, and waterpark environments.

Upon successful completion of the Y Lifeguard Certification Course, participants will receive certification in:

  • Lifeguard
  • CPR Pro/AED for the Professional Rescuer
  • Basic First Aid
  • Emergency Oxygen Administration


The Y strongly believes in access for all. That's why our lifeguard certification course is one of the lowest cost (if not the lowest), highest quality courses in central Maryland -- as low as $200 less than other comparable courses!

  • Y members - $150
  • Program participants - $200

You can register online for the Y Lifeguard Certification Course or sign up in person at any Y Center.

The Y can also offer Y lifeguard and re-certification training at your community pool, swim club, apartment complex, or recreation center. For more information, please contact Jill Black, VP of Swim and Family Programming at 


In order to take a Y lifeguard certification course, you must be at least 16 years old and you must pass a pre-course assessment:

  • Tread water for one minute with both hands out of the water
  • Tread water for two minutes with both hands in the water
  • Swim 100 yards freestyle in two minutes or less
  • 250 yard endurance swim: 50 yards each of front crawl (head out of water); sidestroke; breaststroke; breaststroke (head out of water); elementary backstroke kick with hands on chest
  • Surface dives/underwater swim: perform an arm-over-arm surface dive; feet first surface dive; feet first surface dive and swim underwater for 15 feet
  • Perform a series of sequence skills