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Working as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor at the City of Port Alberni includes 10 steps:

Step 1: Swimming Ability – Complete Swimmer Level 9 in the Lifesaving Society Swim Lesson Program or equivalent swimming ability (previously named Red Cross Swim Kids Level 10)

Step 2: Bronze Medallion
  • Pre-Requisites: 13-years old
  • 20-hour course
  • Endurance Challenge – Swim 400m (16 lengths) in 12 minutes
Step 3: Bronze Cross
  • Pre-Requisites: Current Bronze Medallion
  • 20-hour course
  • Endurance Challenge – Swim 400m (16 lengths) in 11 minutes
Step 4: Standard 1st Aid with CPR C/AED (SFA)
  • 15 years old
  • 16-hour course
Step 5: National Lifeguard (NL)
  • Pre-Requisites: Bronze Cross (does not need to be current), Standard 1st Aid (does not need to be current), 15-years old (by the last day)
  • 44-hour course
  • Required Physical Standards:
    • Recover a 20lb brick off the bottom of the pool (3m) and carry 5m within 40-seconds
    • Swim underwater for 15m
    • Swim 50m in 60-seconds
    • Swim 20m, recover a submerged victim (or mannequin) from the bottom of the pool and carry 20m
    • Endurance Challenge – Swim 400m (16 lengths) in 10 minutes
Step 6: Swim Instructor
  • Pre-Requisites: Bronze Cross (does not need to be current) and 15-years old (by the last day)
  • Completed Swimmer Level 9 in the Lifesaving Society Swim Lesson Program or equivalent swimming ability (previously named Red Cross Swim Kids Level 10)
  • 40-hour course
Step 7: Apply for a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor Position
  • Submit a copy of your Resume and Cover Letter, along with a copy of your National Lifeguard, Standard 1st Aid and Learn to Swim Instructor to [email protected]

Step 8: In Person Dry Interview

Step 9: In Person Wet Interview

Upon successfully getting hired, new staff are required to complete a Police Information Check.

Step 10: Orientation & Training Upon being hired, new Lifeguard/Swim Instructors will complete 40-50 hours of shadow guarding and teaching to learn the specifics of lifeguarding and swim instruction at the Echo Aquatic Centre.

Note for high school students: You can also earn up to 7 High School Course Credits:

  • Bronze Cross = 2 credits for Grade 11
  • Bronze Cross and Lifesaving Instructor (LSI) = 3 credits for Grade 11
  • National Lifeguard Pool option (NL) = 2 credits for Grade 12

Certified applicants are provided with an opportunity for an in-person interview, and candidates who would be a good fit for the role are invited to do a second interview to assess lifeguarding physical standards, first aid skills and teaching skills. Candidates who are not successful during the second interview are provided with written feedback on the skills that need refinement before re-applying. A second wet interview is offered to any applicant who would like to be re-evaluated.
Currently, we do not have enough staff to have Instructors in the water teaching our swim lessons and Lifeguards on the deck surveilling all the areas of the natatorium, based on the BC Health Act and the BC/Yukon Lifesaving Society standards:
  1. Bather to Lifeguard Ratios: 1 Lifeguard for 1-40 swimmers in the natatorium (Main Pool, Hot Tub, Sauna, Tot Pool and Fitness Studio). At least 2 Lifeguards are on duty when the pool is open to the public to oversee the activities in the pools.
  2. No other duties shall interfere with their pool surveillance: When a Swim Instructor is teaching, they cannot be responsible for any other tasks.
On January 18, 2024, we have 16 Lifeguard/Swim Instructors currently available to work.
Aquatic staff can select a package of hours that they will work until their personal circumstances change or select a different package of hours. These packages range from 1-5 days and 5-35 hours per week.
We have a few permanent full-time positions within aquatics:
  • Aquatic Programmer - is our key position and oversees the day-to-day operation of the pool.
  • Aquatic Team Leaders (previously referred to as Full Time Lifeguard/Swim Instructor) - two on-shift supervisors who support our Lifeguard/Swim Instructors on shift. Currently, both Team Leader positions are vacant; we have been actively recruiting for these positions since March 2023.
Historically, our aquatics staff have valued flexibility. All staff can work up to 40 hours/week by working their assigned package hours and pick-up on-call hours.
At minimum, part-time and casual unionized staff receive 15% of their wage in lieu of benefits.
No. Staff are welcome to add additional hours to their scheduled shifts or combine different vacant shifts together to create a longer shift if they desire, which may result in a split shift.
To ensure we have adequate coverage in lifeguarding and swim instruction, we have historically hired employees who are trained as both a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. If staff are only lifeguarding, two situations could arise:
  • Local residents will not have the opportunity to learn to swim and be safe around bodies of water (a life skill in the Alberni Valley)
  • If locals do not have fundamental swimming skills, there will not be a system in place for local staff to train as future Lifeguards to operate our Aquatic Centre. We would then require staff outside the Valley to move to Port Alberni to operate our facilities.
Evening swim sessions are scheduled based on staff availability and operational needs. Our current focus is to keep up with the demands of the Learn to Swim program.
Historically, Monday to Friday 1:00pm-4:00pm is a quieter time at the pool. We will expand our weekday daytime operating hours when we have trained staff available.
Yes, until we have enough staff to operate the full facility hours consistently. We hope to return to traditional operating hours by September 2024.
Similar to the weekday daytime closures and the weekly revised schedule, we will open on Sundays when we have more staff fully trained.
This time is designated as an adult-only swim session as we are not currently adequately staffed to support a larger influx of swimmers.
Learn to Swim lessons are assigned to specific shifts. If staff do not select a shift with lessons, then we are unable to offer those lessons. We are exploring different ways to incentivize shifts that include lesson sets.
The cost of an annual membership is already significantly lower than a drop-in pass and is available for use at a variety of facilities.
Historically, the City of Port Alberni does not offer signing bonuses to new employees.
To ensure a balance between investment by new employees and taxpayers subsidizing City recreation services, the City has reduced the cost of courses by almost 50% for candidates to train to be a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor.