PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that it has implemented changes to the lifeguard certification process to make it easier for candidates to apply. DEM hopes the changes will increase the number of lifeguard applicants and its ability to keep beaches supervised and protected. This will be a multiyear process, and DEM will be implementing two changes before the traditional full certification test in August. Below are the changes for 2022:
o Any lifeguard who currently holds a full certification that's due to expire on Sept. 30, 2022, will be exempt from taking a test this month. DEM will be extending the expiration of their current state certification until June 15, 2023. These eligible candidates will receive notification for their records.
o Any lifeguard who presently holds a conditional certification is still required to attend the August certification. However, these candidates will be tested only on the swim portion. They will not need to demonstrate rescue skills at that time.
Certification for 2023 will take place in the spring of 2023 and require a demonstration of rescue skills and the completion of the endurance swim. The endurance swim may be performed in a pool before the certification or may be completed at the time of the certification testing in the spring of 2023. There will no longer be any testing in August after 2022.
Below are the changes that will take effect in 2023:
o The allowable endurance swim distance will be 400 meters or 440 yards. The endurance swim still must be completed in under 10 minutes and with only a forward-facing swim stroke.
o The endurance swim may be performed in a pool before attending a testing date for state certification. You may perform this endurance swim in any state in which you reside or attend school between March 2023 and the date you intend to attend the state certification test. The endurance swim must be performed in front of an approved aquatic examiner who will attest and complete a proof of endurance swim form. DEM is developing this form and will define who may be considered an approved aquatic examiner. The form will be housed in the Lifeguard Certification Portal.
o At the time of the state certification test, you will be required to present the proof of endurance swim form along with all other required forms and certifications (first aid, CPR, lifeguard training) and the completed lifeguard certification form to DEM.
o If you do not complete the endurance swim before the state certification test or if you fail to provide a properly executed proof of endurance swim form you will be required to perform the endurance swim on the state certification test date.
o All candidates are required to register for a specific testing time via the Lifeguard Certification Portal. Walk-ins will be allowed as testing schedule dictates. If you need to perform the endurance swim at the state certification test, we recommend the use of a wetsuit if you have concerns about the water temperature.
o Starting in the spring of 2023, state certification test dates will be expanded to include later hours, as well as weekend testing dates to better accommodate candidates' schedules.
To review any changes, please review on our website. For questions, please contact the DEM Division of Parks and Recreation by phone at 401-667-6200 or DEM.RIparks@dem.ri.gov. DEM continues to accept applications for seasonal positions including qualified lifeguards for state beach facilities. Positions are still available at many locations throughout the state. All lifeguard positions require certification and special training in first aid, CPR, and lifesaving.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.