City beaches are typically open from Memorial Day weekend through the week after Labor Day. Outdoor pools are open from late June through the week after Labor Day. 

Qualifying exams for the Summer 2024 season began December 1, 2023. You can register for the exam online.

To become a lifeguard, you must successfully complete the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program. Other certifications (such as Red Cross) will not be accepted.

The program is free and consists of 40 hours of swimming and rescue techniques, first-aid, and CPR. To enter the Municipal Lifeguard Training Program, you must pass the qualifying exam.

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 cannot be worn during the eye exam)
  • Be able to swim 50 yards in 45 seconds or less with proper form
  • Bring a bathing suit, a towel, and a lock for your locker (goggles are optional)

More information, including how to register for an exam, is available online.

Learn more about becoming a New York City Lifeguard.

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