Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Deborah W. Wolf


The responses from park district personnel concerning the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training program (ARCLTP) and the Ellis & Associates National Pool and Waterpark Lifeguard Training program (E&ALTP) were examined and analyzed in this study. Subjects were employees from park districts, which are members of the Illinois Association of Park Districts and/or the Illinois Park & Recreation Association. Data were collected by a questionnaire, which measured each lifeguard training program's rescue procedures in terms of: l) emergency action plans, 2) communication systems, 3) entries, 4) approaches, 5) rescues, 6) risk management and 7) legalistic concerns. Demographic data were analyzed by frequency counts and percentages. A chi-square analysis with a .05 level of significance was computed on selected responses from subjects. The results of the study yielded a relatively small number of significant differences between the lifeguard training programs. There were five statements which exhibited a significant difference. Whistles were more commonly used as a communication device than hand signals for both programs. E&ALTP facilities more frequently than ARCLTP facilities had lifeguards jump directly off their stands when entering deep water for an emergency. ARCLTP lifeguards were much more apt to dive off the deck in deep water to rescue a victim. The entry most commonly used by E&ALTP was the compact jump entry. Because the E&ALTP requires a lifeguard to possess a rescue tube, all of E&ALTP respondents agreed that lifeguards carry a piece of equipment while on duty. Because ARCLTP lifeguards were taught lifesaving skills which do not require the use of equipment, these facilities indicated having equipment 5-10 feet from the lifeguard chair instead of carrying equipment. The other 15 statements in the questionnaire did not exhibit a statistical difference. Due to the variation of the answers received, the author cannot conclude that aquatic managers perceived either program to be superior to the other. A lack of substantial difference in the data demonstrates that each certification meets the requirements of an efficient lifeguard training program.