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DEC offers free waterfront lifeguard course

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a free waterfront lifeguard course will be offered April 19 through 22 in Gloversville, Fulton County. Individuals looking for seasonal summer employment who enjoy the outdoors are encouraged to learn more about DEC’s summer recreation opportunities.

“Joining the team of lifeguards at DEC campgrounds and day use areas during the summer season offers an excellent opportunity to help visitors safely enjoy the great outdoors in New York’s beautiful Catskill and Adirondack forest preserves,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I encourage all eligible New Yorkers with a passion for nature and an interest in becoming a lifeguard to learn more.”

Individuals at least 16 years old interested in lifeguarding positions at DEC facilities this summer may register. Candidates that complete the course will be considered for employment. The course includes certification in required lifeguarding and waterfront skills, CPR/AED for the professional rescuer, and first aid.


A prerequisite fitness test will be given the morning of Tuesday, April 19. Candidates must successfully complete each component of the fitness test to continue with the free waterfront lifeguard course, including:

  • 550 yard (22 lengths) continuous swim (front crawl or breaststroke only);
  • Treading water for two minutes using legs only;
  • Swim 20 yards, surface dive to retrieve a 10 pound brick, return to surface, and swim on the back returning to the starting point. Exit the water without using a ladder or steps; and
  • Swim five yards, submerge, and retrieve three dive rings placed five yards apart in four to seven feet of water, resurface, and continue to swim another five yards to complete the skill sequence.

Applicants must be 16 years of age, meet agency medical and vision (20/70 or better) requirements, and intend to work at a DEC facility for the 2022 season.


Immediately following the course, eligible candidates will have the opportunity to take the DEC qualifying procedure. Only individuals that pass the qualifying procedure can be employed as DEC lifeguards. Qualifying procedures will also be available from April through June at additional locations. If a candidate does not pass the water skills and/or CPR section(s) at a single location, they are required to register for and attend a separate qualifier. Candidates have multiple attempts to qualify and there is no charge to take the qualifying procedure.

Seasonal lifeguard positions are available at DEC campgrounds throughout the Adirondack and Catskill parks. Most facilities offer free housing or site accommodations.

For more information on the course, qualifying procedure, or to pre-register, call 518-457-2500 ext. #1, e-mail DEC at [email protected], or visit the Employment Opportunities in Summer Recreation section of DEC’s website.

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