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Seattle Parks and Recreation

Water Safety Instructor Certification


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General Information

Become a W.S.I. Online Blended Learning Class

Seattle Parks and Recreation teaches American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI). This, approximately 30 hour, course includes motor learning theory and practical methods for teaching a variety of swimming and aquatic skills.

While not required for temporary employment as a lifeguard, a large portion of the Parks Department's aquatics program is teaching swimming lessons. WSI's are preferred job candidates because of the level of teaching training they have received. This certification also helps temporary staff if they choose to apply for permanent positions for which WSI is required.

Subjects WSIs are Authorized to Teach

  • Red Cross Learn-to-Swim levels 1 to 6
  • Parent and Child Aquatics
  • Water Safety Outreach
  • Basic Water Rescue Course
  • Water Safety Today Presentation
  • General Water Safety Presentation
  • Home Pool Safety Presentation
  • Parent Orientation to Swimming Lesson Presentation

Water Safety Instructor Authorization is valid for 2 years.


  • Must be 16 years of age
  • Possess one of the following:
    • A current American Red Cross Health and Safety Instructor Authorization (ex: Community First Aid and Safety Instructor, CPR;FPR Instructor)
    • An American Red Cross Fundamentals of Instructor Training (FIT) certificate issued within 1 year.
  • Candidates must attend all sessions to pass this course
  • Must successfully pass the pretest:
    1. The skills pretest is based on a proficiency level equal to Level 4 of the American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program:
      1. Front Crawl - 25 yards
      2. Back Crawl - 25 yards
      3. Breaststroke - 25 yards
      4. Elementary Backstroke - 25 yards
      5. Sidestroke - 25 yards
      6. Butterfly - 15 yards
    2. Maintain position on back 1 minute in deep water (float or sculling).
    3. Tread water for 1 minute.

NOTE: Those holding current certification in Basic Water Safety and/or Lifeguard Training must still undergo pretesting.

Bring to First Class

  1. Books
  2. Proof of age
  3. FIT or other current instructor's card
  4. Swim Suits and Towel

Required Books

Cost: $125.00, books not included.

In addition all students must have the Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Packet ($49.95). Books can be purchased from the Red Cross, call 323-2345 for information.

The Packet includes:

  • Swimming and Diving (S&D), stock #651300
  • Water Safety Instructor's Manual (WSIM), stock #651301
  • Water Safety Instructor's CD-ROM
  • Water Safety Handbook, stock #651306
  • Raffy Learns to Swim, stock #651307
  • Waddles in the Deep, stock #651308

More Information

  • Payment is required in order to register for the class. Please contact the pool to make a reservations, and for further information about fees and textbooks.
  • If participant is under 18 years of age, a parent/guardian must sign a permission/registration form.
  • Space is limited, registration will be done on a first come first serve basis.

Last Update April 26, 2016
Upcoming Tests
For upcoming test dates, see the Training and Certification column on our Aquatics Employment & Training page.
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