Become a DCR Water Safety Instructor

DCR lifeguards interested in becoming certified to teach others to swim are encouraged to enroll in a Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course. A Water Safety Instructor is able to teach all the water safety courses and Learn-To-Swim levels (1-6) in the Red Cross water safety program.

How strong of a swimmer do I have to be?

If you can float on your back in deep water for one minute, tread water for one minute, and swim each of the following strokes for a distance of 25 yards with a high degree of skill proficiency, you would be eligible to enroll into a WSI course:

  • Front Crawl (“Freestyle”)
  • Back Crawl (“Backstroke”)
  • Breaststroke
  • Sidestroke
  • Elementary Backstroke
  • Butterfly

Candidates with average swimming ability may be eligible to become Basic Swim Instructors (BSI).  BSI candidates need not perform Butterfly or Back Crawl. A Basic Swim Instructor is eligible to teach water safety and Learn-To-Swim programs up to and including Level 3. 

DCR-Sponsored WSI Training

Most WSI candidates take the WSI course while away at college or at times/locations that are convenient to their schedule.  These instructor candidates assume the full cost of the course knowing that the increase in pay they will become eligible for will more than cover the cost of the course.  They recognize that this is a wise investment.

DCR will, at times, sponsor a WSI course at various locations across the Commonwealth. Participation in a DCR-sponsored course carries the expectation that the candidate will work for DCR teaching swimming lessons during the upcoming summer.  Persons who participate in the training but do not end up working for DCR will be responsible for the full cost of the WSI course.  (Prices vary but are approximately $300-$500).

Course Name



Water Safety / Basic Swim Instructor



Wait List for WSI Training

If you would like to be put on a wait list for a future WSI course, please let us know! Contact your Regional PWS contact and let them know you are interested in becoming a Water Safety Instructor. 

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