Receive the American Red Cross - Level V Stroke Refinement or YMCA certificate or equivalent in Intermediate Swimming OR pass the following requirements
While it is not required that you have a professional teach you (or your kids) to swim, it is highly advisable. Check with your local pool (a local college, or YMCA for example) to see what kind of swimming courses are offered. If you are unsure where your nearest American Red Cross (ARC), or YMCA is, then check online at: Red Cross (in the middle near the top there is a place to enter your zip code so that you can locate your locale ARC chapter); or YMCA (there is a box off to the left that will allow you to enter your zip code). If you choose to not have a professional teach you, you will find the requirements below.
1. Using a kick board for arm support, swim 20 yards (18.3 meters) employing a scissors stroke of the legs, 20 yards (18.3 meters) using a flutter kick, and 20 yards (18.3 meters) using the breaststroke kick. The three leg strokes do not have to be performed consecutively.
2. Using some form of leg support or trailing the legs with minimum motion, swim ten yards employing the side stroke of the arms, ten yards using the crawl stroke, and ten yards using the breaststroke arm pull. The arm strokes do not have to be performed consecutively.
3. Swim 50 yards (45.7 meters) continuously using the elementary back stroke.
4. Swim 100 yards (91.4 meters) continuously on the front or the side using a fully coordinated style of swimming.
5. Demonstrate correctly a simple turn for swimming on front or side in a closed course.
6. Float motionless or rest in a supine-floating position with minimum hand and foot movement in deep water for at least three minutes.
7. By sculling with the hands only, move backward through the water on the back for a minimum distance of ten yards.
8. Tread water using auxiliary arm movements continuously for one minute.
9. Duck beneath the surface of the water and swim at least two body lengths under the water.
10. Do a fully-coordinated standing front dive into deep water in reasonably good form.
11. Do a running jump from a low elevation into deep water, level off, and swim.
12. Put on a personal flotation device in deep water.
13. Demonstrate the following rescue techniques