Guidance Watercraft Safety Alternative Training Certifications

Date: 10/15/2020
Referenced Sources: 105 CMR 430.000

Table of Contents

Guidance on Watercraft Safety Alternative Training Certifications

The Department of Public Health (DPH), Bureau of Climate and Environmental Health’s Community Sanitation Program has learned the American Red Cross course “Small Craft Safety” is no longer offered. While certifications in this course are valid until expired, DPH has been asked for guidance on acceptable alternative training for counselors supervising watercraft activities under 105 CMR 430.000 (Minimum Standards for Recreational Camps for Children).

To meet the minimum requirement1, staff who supervise or oversee watercraft activities must have current certifications and complete trainings that meet at least one of the following options:

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

  • Lifeguard
  • American Red Cross Small Craft Safety (valid until certificate expires)


  • American Red Cross Basic Water Rescue
  • American Red Cross Basic Water Rescue



  • In-person participatory training specific for the watercraft activities staff will oversee

Camp operators must maintain written staff certifications and records of in-person training provided by the camp (including instructor certifications) to demonstrate appropriate training.

There are more comprehensive trainings available that could be accepted by the Local Board of Health, depending on the types of watercraft and aquatic activity that staff members will oversee.

For more information please visit or contact the Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health at (617) 624-5757.

Downloads for Watercraft Safety Alternative Training Certifications

1 105 CMR 430.103 (B)(1) requires that “All watercraft activities shall be supervised by a minimum of one counselor for every 10 campers in watercraft. Each counselor shall hold a lifeguard certification or American Red Cross certification in Small Craft Safety and Basic Water Rescue, or an equivalent certification recognized by the Department that demonstrates water rescue procedures specific to the type of water and activities conducted.”

Referenced Sources:

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