Course Background

Hawk Ventures was certified in 2014 as a Starfish Aquatics Institute (SAI) Training Center. This has activated us to offer the SAI Wilderness Lifeguard® certification course, an innovative program developed by Landmark Learning. It is designed to meet the needs of wilderness trip leaders with a focus on prevention. This remote application to aquatic rescue courses can be taken alone as a primary training, as an add-on module to the SAI StarGuard® course, or as a module for current lifeguards. Site assessment, swimmer assessment, and improvising lifeguarding equipment are key components that differentiate this course from traditional waterfront courses.

Our first Wilderness Lifeguard® course was held August 29-30, 2016 at Lake James in North Carolina, USA. It was run in conjunction with the Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship public program and Landmark Learning. We extend our continual appreciation to Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation for original funding for our teaching equipment for this course.

Current Course Offering

In 2023, we will be offering a Wilderness Lifeguard® class at Lake James State Park, again in conjunction with Starfish Aquatics Institute, Landmark Learning, and the 2023 Carolina Wilderness EMS Externship. The course will be offered September 5-6, 2023 at Lake James in North Carolina, USA.


  • Minimum 16 years of age
  • Current certification in wilderness first aid (or more advanced wilderness medicine certification) and Adult CPR
  • Swim 100 yards
  • Tread water for three minutes

Continuing Education

  • This nationally delivered curriculum meets or exceeds the lifeguarding guidelines and water safety training of the American Camp Association (ACA) and the Association for Experiential Education (AEE)

Registration for this class is available here

Seth Collings Hawkins, the owner of Hawk Ventures, is the course director for this class. He has extensive experience in drowning medicine and water rescue. A competitive Masters swimmer, he is a certified Swiftwater Rescue Technician and Wilderness Lifeguard® lifeguard and instructor. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Lifeguards Without Borders and is the medical director of Starfish Aquatics Institute and Landmark Learning. He is the co-author of the current Wilderness Medical Society Practice Guidelines on Submersion Injuries & Drowning, as well as co-author or editor of the drowning chapters in Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine (7th edition, 2017), Nancy Caroline’s Emergency Care in the Streets (9th edition, 2021), Vertical Aid (1st edition, 2017), Wilderness EMS (1st edition, 2018), and Prehospital Trauma Life Support (10th edition, 2021).