Aquatic Recognized Certifications

Managing Certifications

It is the responsibility of the camp to confirm the provider meets the needs of and is appropriate for their program, meets the requirements of their insurance provider, and aligns with what is required by their state regulations. Additionally, the camp is responsible for verifying and documenting the skills attained as part of the certification,as required for their job responsibilities and specific to their camp program.

Being on the list means only a broad-level review of the course has been conducted (by ACA staff and/or volunteers).   ACA does not accredit the organizations nor does ACA endorse them. Considerations for review:

  • Does the course curriculum include the topics/methods identified by authoritative sources (when available) to include being the recommended length?
  • Is the curriculum and are the instructors updated in an established timeframe (every 3-5 years)?
  • Does the course include in-person skills review and skills verification?

Below are certifications that meet specified ACA standards, based on a review of the curricula from the certifying bodies. This list will be updated several times each year. To determine if courses or certifications not listed meet standards requirements, e-mail the standards department at the ACA national office.  NOTE: ACA will only accept certification review requests directly from camp operators that are ACA accredited or have submitted an application for accreditation.  ACA does not endorse any specific course.

It is important to remember, that in addition to having the appropriate and  current certification, lifeguards and aquatics staff  must also verify their skills in rescue and emergency procedures specific to the camp's aquatic area(s) and activities. 

If additional training and skills verification is noted, this training may be done by qualified waterfront personel (camp staff included).

At this time, the American Camp Association requires that any aquatic, first aid, and CPR/AED certification must include, at minimum, 50% of course time to include in-person instruction, hands-on practice, and skills assessment under the direct supervision of a certified instructor from one of the organizations listed. It is acceptable to have a portion of the course be completed online (course readings, etc.).

Certifications are recognized for the following standards:

  • Swim Lifeguard: ST.12, *AD.46, *ST.17
  • Scuba: *ST.13
  • Swim Lessons: ST.14
  • Watercraft Guard: *ST.15, *PA.11, *ST.17
  • Watercraft Instruction: PA.15, *ST.17
  • Aquatic Supervisor: ST.11
  • First Aid/CPR: *ST.7, *AD.46, *AD.47


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