Does a City Government Parks & Recreation Department required to have Certified Swim Instructors to teach swim lessons?

I am doing research on this subject. Can a City Government have their own version of swim lesson instruction without a nationally recognized swim instruction certifying agency? Why is it important to have Certified Swim Instructors? What is the benefit of having Certified Swim Instructors? Is there a liability of NOT having or having Certified Swim Instructors?

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I've worked at facilities that teach YMCA lessons, American Red Cross Lessons, and the Michael Phelps IM Program. Generally, I think the biggest benefit is just the recognition of being associated with one of these organizations. Many pools do a hybrid of some sort such as ours which teaches american red cross levels with elements from the Michael Phelps Program.

I would say first, it depends. With any liability issues check with your facility insurance carrier and your local health codes. I'm not too familiar with the Florida codes (your profile location says Florida) so check those first.

In my opinion. You do not need to work with a certifying agency, but you should have a written process for training your staff and supervising your lessons. Your programs safety considerations should not deviate from industry best practices including having a certified Lifeguard on duty at all times swimmers are in the water. You need to make sure you show that you are doing your due diligence in developing a program that will keep people safe. This should include background checks for all your instructors, a safety orientation and written procedures for an Emergency Action Plan (Including what your instructors should do).

Let me know if you have any questions, I've been involved with both ARC, and independent programs.

This is a great topic, and I hope you will publish your learnings!

I completely agree with Joe concerning this topic.  The more prominent issue would be insurance requirements.  For instance, our lease holders that wish to host swim/dive meets, must hold an additional insurance policy, as their practice/travel/and meet participation are covered.  However, hosting as event is not covered.  The fine writing will get you.

If your interested in talking to an agency that does provide their own training program, I would suggest getting in touch with Debbie Arnold from the Woodlands Township out of Texas.

Good Luck!


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