Water Safety Instructor Course

Program Overview

In geberal, the Water Safety Instructor Course (WSI) prepares candidates to instruct the Red Cross Swim programs. Candidates will focus on strategies to introduce and improve fitness activities, skills, and water safety, and swimming skills in the Red Cross Swim Preschool, Red Cross Swim Kids, Red Cross Swim @ School, Red Cross Swim @ Camp, Red Cross Swim for Adults & Teens, and Red Cross Swim Adapted programs.

Water Safety Instructor Course Components & Length

  • Skills Evaluation* – 3–6 hours
  • Online – 14–20 hours
  • Teaching Experience – minimum 8 hours
  • Classroom and Pool – 9 hours classroom, 12 hours pool.

* Please note that, WSI—Skills Evaluation can be completed before, during or after the WSI—Online or WSI—Teaching Experience, but must be completed before attending the WSI—Classroom and Pool.

Pre Course Requirement

15 years or older by the last day of the WSI – Classroom and Pool, ability to perform Red Cross Swim Kids 10 strokes and skills, and hold one of the following certifications (not required to be current): Red Cross Assistant Lifeguard, Emergency First Aid or equivalent (Bronze Cross certification is the required prerequisite in Quebec).

Water Safety Instructor Course Completion Criteria

  • Attend, participate in, and as well as complete 100% of all four-course components.
  • WSI—Teaching Experience: complete a minimum of 4 hours** in each of a Red Cross Swim Preschool; and a Red Cross Swim Kids class within 6 months of finishing the WSI—Online.

** Red Cross recommends completing an entire session


All course components are evaluated against specific evaluation criteria on a pass/fail basis.




Course Materials

  • Water Safety Instructor Course Workbook
  • Red Cross Swim Deck Book
  • WSI—Online





Upon successful completion, candidates are certified for 2 years as a Water Safety Instructor, which allows them to teach Red Cross Swim programs without direct supervision.

Water Safety Instructor Recertification

Complete 3 Water Safety Instructor—Online Professional Development Courses:  Evaluating Strokes, Supervising the Teaching Experience, and as well as Teaching Parented Classes, before attending the WSI Recertification Course.

Attend a recertification course every 2 years (2 hours classroom, 3 hours pool).

NCCP Swimming Teacher Certification

The Canadian Red Cross, Swimming Canada and as well as the Coaching Association of Canada have completed an agreement to offer an accelerated training track to become a swimming coach. If you are a current Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, you can follow the steps outlined in the process to earn your National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Swimming Teacher certification.

In fact, the NCCP Swimming Teacher certification is the minimum certification standard for coaches working for community swim clubs. The Red Cross is proud to be the first training organization to earn recognition for this program and to offer our instructors enhanced employment opportunities within the aquatics community.

For additional information, a current Red Cross Water Safety Instructor should refer to the following website: http://www.nccpswimming.ca/swimming-teacher-red-cross-wsi/.