Program Information

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. 

 Boys and Girls - 6-15 years old (6-8 years old @ Rio Del Mar Only!)
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 the Tryouts in April or May.

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
  • Dress up theme days
  • Junior Guard Competitions


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

Please review the rules before signing up to ensure an enjoyable summer for all.

Program Fees

Each Session costs: $440.00. 
There are no discounts for siblings. 
Cost Includes: Uniform long-sleeved t-shirt.
*Registration prices subject to change

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) 476-4992.

Tryout Information:
The Junior Lifeguard Program is not a “learn to swim” school. 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

Uniform pickup and sales will be available at the tryout location.
Uniform items must be paid by personal check or money order (checks made out to: California State Parks)

Daily Agenda

(This agenda is subject to variation without notice, based 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!

Please make sure your JG has the following everyday:

Uniform Shirt & swimsuit
Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) and towel
A bag lunch, with nutritious, wholesome food, and lots of drinking water, for a full active day
A large sun hat (optional but recommended)
A sweatshirt for cold days
Protective, beach appropriate footwear
Wetsuits are optional, but recommended

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


Santa Cruz State Little Guard competition- T.B.D
Santa Cruz State JG Competition (A, B, and C groups)- T.B.D

Santa Cruz City "NorCal" Little Guard Competition- T.B.D
Santa Cruz City "NorCal" JG Competition (A, B, and C groups)- T.B.D

All above competitions will take place at Main Beach in Santa Cruz

 *dates and locations may be subject to change


If the Session/Age Category you wish to enroll in is full, please send an email to to be added to the waitlist. The Program Coordinator will notify you via email if there is an opening. *WAITLISTS FOR SESSION I CLOSE ON tbd & WAITLISTS FOR SESSION II CLOSE ON tbd*

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to register my child before tryouts?
 A: Yes. Registration will open online (check back for date).

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 and is held on a drop-in basis. You do not need to stay for the entire timeframe. Please check our "Tryout Information" page for more information.

Q: Do you offer make-up tryouts?
A: No. 

Q: If my child has done Santa Cruz State Junior Guards before, does he/she still need to tryout?
A: No. Just register online.

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: All Uniform items will be available for purchase at either of the tryouts or the Saturday prior to the start of each Session only. See the "Junior Lifeguards Uniforms" page. We accept personal checks or money orders only (checks made payable to "California State Parks"). 

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 and lunch to last all day. Sunscreen is a must as we ask the kids to re-apply a few times a day. Shoes, towel, hat, wetsuit, rash guard, umbrella and a positive attitude are always recommended! We ask that the participants do not bring cell phones or any other type of electronic devices. If 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. Contacts listed on the Rules & Regulations page.