Junior Lifeguard Program Information

The Junior Lifeguard program is a unique and challenging aquatic program for young people. Goals of the JG program are to promote water safety and environmental awareness. 

 6-15 years old (6-8 years old only at Rio Del Mar)
WHERE: Manresa, Rio Del Mar, and Twin Lakes State Beaches
WHEN: Each four week session runs Monday through Friday - 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 
WHY: Develop Ocean Safety Skills! Learn about the local environment! Have fun!

Age Groups: Your age is determined by the age you are the first day of your chosen session.

Little guards: 6-8yrs (Rio Del Mar only)
C’s: 9-11 yrs 
B’s: 12-13 yrs
A’s: 14-15 yrs

*If you are a new Junior Lifeguard participant (i.e. have never participated in the Santa Cruz State Junior Lifeguard Program) you are REQUIRED to attend a tryout date. 

In our program, your child will:


  • Safety, Ocean & Beach Hazards
  • Rip Currents, Waves & Tides
  • Beach Ecology & Marine Life


  • Surf & Ocean Rescue
  • First Aid & CPR


  • Surfing & Boogie Boarding
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Body Surfing
  • Beach/Water Flags & Relay Races
  • Beach & Ocean Games


  • Beach Running
  • Ocean Swimming
  • Paddle Board Races
  • Push ups & Sit ups
  • Stretching & Calisthenics

Beach Specific Information


Little Guards Photo

Manresa State Beach

Location: 1445 San Andreas Rd, Watsonville, CA 95076
(Below the parking lot)

Unique to Manresa:

  • Large open Beach
  • Smaller program with more instructor to participant interaction
  • Larger variety of rip currents and ocean conditions
  • Exposure and experience with larger surf condition


Rio Del Mar State Beach

Location: 527 Beach Dr, Aptos, CA 95003
(Next to the parking lot)

Unique to Rio Del Mar:

  • Only program with Little Guard (6-8 year old program), which is a great way to get younger children more comfortable with the ocean
  • Calmer ocean conditions and smaller surf


Twin Lakes

Location: 180 14th Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(Blacks Beach, At the end of 14th Ave)

Unique to Twin Lakes:

  • Smaller beach with dynamic beach and ocean conditions
  • Larger surf and more experience with rip currents


Program Fees

Each Session 

There are no discounts for siblings. 
Cost Includes: Uniform long-sleeved t-shirt.

The Santa Cruz State Junior Lifeguard Program accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover credit or debit cards for registration. No other forms of payment will be accepted.

Tuition assistance is available upon request (go to Tuition assistance). 

If you are interested in making a donation please email us or contact us at (831) 212-7223.

Refund Policy

  • There is a $50.00 fee for cancellations made prior to the first day of instruction
  • Students may drop from the program at any time prior to the completion of the first week of instruction and receive a 50% refund of tuition (minus the $50.00 cancellation fee and processing fees)
  • After the commencement of the first day of the second week, no refunds will be made
  • There is no refund of fees for the students suspended (1-3 days) or for students that are removed from all further program activities for disciplinary reasons
  • If your child does not pass the JG tryout, you will be refunded the full amount, minus the processing fees
  • Refunds may take up to 8 weeks for payment


If the Session/Age Category you wish to enroll in is full, you can enroll in the waitlist via ReserveCalifornia, under your chosen beach/session. The Program Coordinator will notify you via email if there is an opening. 


The Junior Lifeguard Program is not a “learn to swim” program. Therefore, prospective students are screened at a tryout to see if they have the minimum skills needed to safely participate in and benefit from the Junior Lifeguard Program. The instructors approve a child's skill level based upon successful completion of the test as well as the child's swimming competence and confidence. We reserve the right to refuse admittance if it is felt a student will adversely affect the safety and welfare of themselves and/or others in the program. All new students must successfully complete the testing process to be eligible for the program (NO EXCEPTIONS).

Click To View Tryout Information



Required Uniform:

Boys: Navy Swim trunks and red long-sleeved JG t-shirt

Girls: Navy athletic style swim suit and red long-sleeved JG t-shirt. (Racing style 2 piece ok).

*We do not sell swimsuits*

For information on uniform guidelines and uniforms available for purchase:

Daily Agenda

Participants with Surf Boards

(This agenda is subject to variation without notice, based on daily conditions)

10:00 – Roll call and program meeting

10:15 – Warm ups, stretching and calisthenics

11:15 – Age group skills & activities

12:00 – Lunch

12:45 – Topic lecture

1:30 – Age group skills & activities

2:40 – Program clean-up, roll call and end of the day all-beach group up

3:00 – End of another great day!

(A more in depth calendar will be sent out to those registered for the 2024 Program)

Please make sure your JG has the following everyday:

  • Uniform Shirt & swimsuit
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and towel
  • A bag lunch, with nutritious food and lots of drinking water, for a full active day
  • A large sun hat (optional but recommended)
  • A sweatshirt for cold days
  • Sandals
  • Wetsuit (Highly recommended)

Please make sure your child has their name on ALL of their belongings. We are not resposible for lost belongings. 

Program Terms & Conditions


  1. Leaving the supervised recreational area without receiving permission from program staff is not permitted.
  2. Fighting (physical or verbal), and use of profane language is not permitted, and parents will be notified.
  3. Vandalism of site, public or other participant’s property will not be tolerated.
  4. Restrooms are to be used for their intended purpose and nothing else. Restrooms are to be kept clean. Participants must notify a lead-person before going to the restroom.
  5. Daily assembly- each site has its own assembly times. For approximately 15 minutes the entire group will meet. It is necessary that participants are quiet and attentive at this time.
  6. Each Junior Lifeguard program site will have its own specific guidelines put in place for the safety and enjoyment of all participants.

Discipline Policy:

Any types of mildly aggressive, intrusive, or destructive actions towards fellow participants, staff members or equipment

  1. Participant will be verbally warned, counseled about the situation, and given an explanation of what behavior change is expected.
  2. Time-out immediately after each incident for 2-5 minutes, depending on the incident. Extra, supervised physical exercise such as push-ups, sit-ups, or running, may be assigned at this time. At this time the participant will be given an explanation of the consequences for continued inappropriate behavior, and an informal behavior contract and plan for successful participation will be implemented.
  3. Conference involving parent, participant, and staff that will include:
    • discussion of incident
    • explanation of discipline policy
    • formal behavior contract, completed and signed
    • determine disciplinary support at home
  4. May include suspension or expulsion depending on severity of behavior, as judged by the site leader and aquatic supervisor. Parent, participant and staff will review behavior contract as well as incident reports. There will be no refunds in the event of an expulsion.
    * Any single incident or aggressive, destructive, or physical behavior toward another participant or staff member, that causes injury, or could potentially cause injury, will result in an immediate time-out and a conference involving parent, participant, and site leader. Serious incidents of this nature may result in immediate expulsion from the program.


Attendance is taken daily. We would appreciate being notified if your child will be absent for a long period of time, i.e. due to vacation, etc. Please email the respective program and notify your child's instructor if they are going to be absent for more than one day. If your child will only be absent for one day, you do not need to notify your child's beach lead.  


Twin Lakes- twinlakesstatejuniorguards@gmail.com
Manresa- manresastatejuniorguards@gmail.com
Rio Del Mar-  riodelmarstatejuniorguards@gmail.com

Participation in Activities:

Students are required to participate in all regular program activities. If a student continuously refuses to participate in the daily the Junior Guard activities they may be asked to leave the program after the first week. If you have questions, please see one of the lead instructors.



Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to register my child before tryouts?
 A: No. Program Registration will open online April 01 @ 9:00AM. If your child is a new participant they will need to attent one of the tryout dates prior to registration, either April 27th or May 18th. These tryouts will operate on a first come first serve basis.

Q: Would I receive a refund if my child doesn’t pass the tryout test?
A: Yes. If your child doesn’t pass, you will receive a full refund minus processing fees.

Q: If my child is new to the program does he/she have to tryout?
A: Yes. If your child is registering for the first time they must attend one of the 2 tryouts. The tryout process should only take about 10-20 minutes. Please check our "Tryout Information" page for more information.

Q: Do you offer make-up tryouts?
A: No. However, if you are not able to attend any of the tryouts, reach out to the Junior Guard Coordniator for an "Out of Area Tryout Form".

Q: If my child has done Santa Cruz State Junior Guards before, does he/she still need to tryout?
A: No. They have shown sufficient skills and will not need to re-tryout.

Q: If my child has done a different Junior Guard program, do they still need to tryout?
A: Yes, if your child has not done one of our three programs, they need to complete our State tryout. See our "Tryout Information" page.

Q: How can I buy uniforms?
A: See the "Junior Lifeguards Uniforms" page. 

Q: If for some reason my child can not do junior guards, would we get a full refund?
A: No.  If you drop from the program at any time prior to the completion of the first week of instruction, you can receive a 50% refund (minus a $50.00 cancellation fee and any processing fees). If you remove your child from the program any time after the completion of the 1st week- no refund will be issued.

Q: My child might miss the last/first week of junior guards because we are going to be out of town. Is it possible for my child to do part of one session and part of another?
A: No. If a child misses a few days or a week, that’s ok. However, the price would still be the same and participation cannot be transferred to another session. We cannot pro-rate enrollment. 

Q: How do I receive a schedule with important dates?
A: We will email out calenders the week prior to the first day of junior lifeguards along with any other important information/forms that may need to be turned in on the first day. 

Q: What should my child bring on the first day?
A: The program runs from 10am-3pm so make sure to pack enough water. Sunscreen is a must as we ask the kids to re-apply a few times a day. Shoes, towel, hat, wetsuit, rash guard, and a positive attitude are always recommended! We ask that the participants do not bring cell phones or any other electronic devices. If a cell phone is packed it is expected to be kept in their backpack and only used after JG hours.

Q: What if my child is going to be absent?
A: If your child is going to be absent for an extended period of time, please contact the beach supervisor by e-mail (contact info will be given to you prior to the start of the program) to let them know.

Special Accomodations

We ask that you notify the office at least thirty (30) days prior to the start of the program if your child requires special accommodations or services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy

The California State Junior Lifeguard program admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or make available to students at school. The state does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethic origin in administration of educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship, athletic and other school-administered programs.

Santa Cruz State Junior Lifeguards
665 14th Ave
Santa Cruz, California, 95062
California State Parks
The State of California
Department of Parks and Recreation