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LARM Member News

Private Swimming Lessons

Hot weather means pools across the state are busy, with hundreds of kids expected to take swimming lessons. Many municipally owned facilities will offer swimming lessons. In some cases, lifeguards will make extra money by giving private swimming lessons on their own time at the city or village-owned facility. There are certain requirements that need to be met before these private lessons are allowed.

The League Association of Risk Management (LARM) has answers to some Frequently Asked Questions concerning private lessons taught at public facilities.

Does village/city liability insurance cover a private lifeguard when he or she gives lessons on their own time at a city-owned facility?  No.

Does the private lifeguard need to purchase their own liability insurance for private lessons even if they also teach swimming lessons for the village/city?  Yes. Since they are receiving the money for teaching lessons on their own time, they need to purchase their own insurance. It’s the same for a group that is giving a baseball camp at the city-owned ball fields or organizing a 5K on a city-owned trail.

What type of insurance policy should a private lifeguard provide proof of for the village/city?  They need to provide proof that they've purchased Comprehensive/Commercial General Liability Insurance with a combined single limit of at least $1,000,000 for each occurrence of bodily injury and property damage. The village/city should be added as an additional insured on the policy with respect to private lessons given at the city-owned pool.

Isn’t the purchase of liability insurance too much to ask of a young lifeguard?  No. Unfortunately, swimming accidents happen. A child slips and breaks his arm poolside or loses consciousness underwater.  Accidents happen all the time under the close supervision of lifeguards. In April 2017, the State of Hawaii legislature voted to not provide liability protection for county lifeguards any longer because of the risks involved. If a lifeguard is not old enough or responsible enough to purchase liability insurance, they should not have the responsibility of teaching someone how to swim especially in depths of 10 feet and more.

How often should the private lifeguard provide proof of insurance to the village/city?  Annually. The person asking to provide the private lessons on city property should ideally contact officials at least one week before the lessons are to begin.

What if a lifeguard is providing private lessons on their own time and has not contacted city officials?  If it is obvious anyone is giving swimming lessons at a village/city-owned pool, they need to be approached and asked if they are doing so for payment. If they are and have not provided proof of insurance, they need to stop immediately. When they have submitted the necessary documents and been approved, they can then resume swimming instruction.

For more information about private lifeguards using your public facility contact LARM at 402-742-2600 or