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The Water Safety Instructor (WSI) Course prepares candidates to instruct the Red Cross Swim programs. Candidates focus on strategies to introduce and develop 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.

If you would like to register, or have any questions please contact us at

Course Components & Length

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

* 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 Requirements

15 years or older, 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).

Completion Criteria

  • Attend, participate in, and 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


Upon successful completion, candidates are certified for 1 year as a WSI, which allows them to teach Red Cross Swim programs without direct supervision.

Complete 3 Water Safety Instructor-Online Professional Development Modules within 1 year of WSI expiry date for a 1-year certification extension at no additional fee. WSIs who do not complete these modules, must attend a WSI Recertification Course.


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

Course Materials

  • Water Safety Instructor Workbook
  • Red Cross Swim Deck Book
  • PIN and password for WSI-Online


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