The Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service is a contracted service of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, and is a part of the Lifesaving Society, NS Branch.
Nova Scotia Health and Wellness provides funding to operate the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service's core supervision and is responsible for beach selection and program promotion. It provides funding to assist in providing safe swimming opportunities to Nova Scotians and tourists who visit our beaches.
The Lifesaving Society is a national volunteer organization and registered charity, composed of tens of thousands of individual members and over 2,000 affiliated aquatic facilities, municipalities, waterfronts and schools. The Lifesaving Society, NS Branch, administers the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service and is responsible for hiring a Program Director, hiring lifeguards, and overseeing quality control of the program.
Originally named the "Nova Scotia Beach Supervision Program", the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service was created as a result of a 1972 study by Dr. James Bayer that pointed out the need to reduce the high number of drownings and related incidents at beaches in Nova Scotia. The province originally contracted with the Canadian Red Cross Society to administer the program. In 1975, a full-time coordinator was hired and the Beach Supervision Program changed its name to the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service (NSLS).
In 1999, the province of Nova Scotia entered a new partnership with Lifesaving Society to jointly operate the NSLS. Today, the NSLS is registered as an independent non-profit society and is directed by a volunteer Board of Directors which includes representation from the Office of Health Promotion and the Lifesaving Society.
In 2013, the province tendered the Beach Supervision Program. The Lifesaving Society, NS Branch, was the successful bid and was awarded a three-year contract.