Original Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Level Badges

Date / Period
1981
Place
Ottawa, Ontario
Object Type
Badges, Pins, Medals and Stamps
Credit
Canadian Red Cross
Topics
Swimming and Water Safety Innovation

Throughout more than 70 years of Canadian Red Cross’ involvement in swimming safety and education, one of the most iconic symbols has become a set of eight colour level badges from the 1980s and 90s.

The badges were part of a completely revised program launched in 1981 called the Pupil Training Program, which focused on continuous student evaluation and training from Canadian Red Cross certified instructors.

The program started at the yellow level, which consisted of learning facility rules and introducing swimmers to the shallow end of the pool. From yellow, the colour badges progressed to orange, red, maroon, blue, green, grey and then to white. At the highest level, students learned about water sport safety and rescue breathing, the sidestroke (as a resting stroke) and were able to complete an endurance swim of 500 metres. By this stage, students were required to be proficient in all aspects of the program and repeatedly tested.

"The badges struck a nostalgic chord with many people searching for the now defunct colour badges to complete their collections."

The badges struck a nostalgic chord with many people searching for the now defunct colour badges to complete their collections. Its sleek wave and swimmer design was the identity of the program and was eventually morphed into the logo used for Red Cross Swim.

The colour badge program ended in 1996 with the introduction of the national AquaQuest program. In response to high rates of water-related injuries and deaths in the 1940s, the Canadian Red Cross has remained committed to making Canadians safer in, on, and around the water and reduce drownings and water-related injuries.

Original Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Level Badges

Original Canadian Red Cross Water Safety Level Badges
This set of eight colour Canadian Red Cross swimming level badges were iconic symbols of swimming in Canada during the 1980s and 1990s.
Water Safety Programme Personal Record Card
Water Safety Programme Personal Record Card
Water Safety Programme Personal Record Card