The United States Lifeguard Standards Coalition is a collaborative effort of the American Red Cross, the United States Lifesaving Association and the YMCA of the USA, America’s nonprofit leaders in lifeguard standard-setting and members of the International Life Saving Federation. Our mission is to research, identify and promote evidence-based standards for lifeguarding and water rescue. Since many lifeguarding techniques, skills and protocols are historically based, the Coalition is working to provide a scientific basis for lifeguarding and water rescue techniques, skills and protocols.
In this effort, we draw on the considerable strengths of our own organizations and other respected nonprofits, while soliciting the input and advice of experts worldwide.
Background and Anticipated Outcome
During coalition meetings that have been conducted to-date research questions were identified; volunteers were recruited from participant organizations to research the questions, with two independent researchers per question; evidence was evaluated; and consensus was reached on what the researched evidence supported in answering the questions identified. The coalition participants have been asked to review and comment on draft outcomes. The next step is a 45 day public comment period, with evidence and draft outcomes posted on this website. Once public comment is closed and appropriate modifications are made, final outcomes will be published. More information on this process can be found in the Review Process of this website.
The anticipated outcome of this process is evidence-based standards for the most effective lifeguarding and water rescue skills. In addition for those areas in which the evidence is lacking, we intend to promote research through the identification of these gaps. The final guidelines and evidence review will be publicly available and distributed freely so that all may benefit from the process.
- June 2003 Representatives of the Red Cross, USLA and YMCA of the USA meet in St. Louis to explore increased collaboration between the organizations
- April 2006 The Red Cross, USLA and YMCA of the USA enter into a Letter of Understanding for one year
- May 2007 The Red Cross, USLA and YMCA of the USA renews the Letter of Understanding for an additional three years
- December 2006 Initial Meeting of the USLSC (overview, topic identification and assignments) – Valhalla, NY
- June 2007 USLSC Meeting (evidence review and consensus process) – Charlotte, NC
- December 2007 USLSC Meeting (evidence review and consensus process) – San Luis Obispo, CA
- October 2008 USLSC Meeting (evidence review and consensus process) – Colorado Springs, CO
- October 28, 2009 Public Comment of draft outcomes document
- Feburary 2, 2011 "United States Lifeguard Standards: An Evidence-Based Review and Report by the United States Lifeguard Standards Coalition" is released