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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

The NYC Lifeguard Qualifying Test

All candidates are tested by Parks’ Lifeguard School to ensure that they meet the highest standards. Candidates interested in becoming a lifeguard must first pass a qualifying test.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age by the start of employment (the end of June).
  • Have at least 20/30 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other - without corrective lenses.  Glasses and contact lenses may not be worn during the eye exam.
  • Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds or less, with proper form.

Once you’ve passed the qualifying test, you’re able to go onto the next step of becoming a New York City Lifeguard: the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program. The program is free, and consists of 40 hours of swimming and rescue techniques, first-aid and CPR.

Upon completion of the training program, you must pass final swimming tests and a written test to become a lifeguard. You must be able to swim 440 yards in 7 minutes and 40 seconds to qualify for a pool assignment, or 6 minutes and 40 seconds to qualify for a beach assignment. Beach lifeguards must also complete a 300-yard ocean swim prior to receiving their assignment.

Qualifying tests take place in December and January. Please check back later for test dates for the 2017 season.

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