Commodore Longfellow Society

The Commodore Longfellow Society is dedicated to saving lives through training in Water Safety, Emergency Care and Injury Prevention.  The Society was organized in 1951 to commemorate and perpetuate the pioneer lifesaving work of "Commodore" Wilbert E. Longfellow who dedicated his life to "Waterproofing America" and starting Lifesaving Corps throughout the United States.

"Every American a swimmer, every swimmer a life saver"
 - Wilbert E. Longfellow

Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow

Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow, known as “the amiable whale,” created the National Red Cross Life Saving Corps in 1914. By the time the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, the American Red Cross was the undisputed leader in water safety instruction and thus given the responsibility for teaching lifesaving in army camps and naval stations. The Red Cross Life Saving Corps was the forerunner of the present-day Red Cross water safety program. In 1922, Longfellow organized the first two National Aquatic Schools for the purposes of training instructors and instructor trainers to promote water safety education.

Membership in the Commodore Longfellow Society

Certified Instructors in the areas of Water Safety, Lifeguarding, Emergency Care (including First Aid, CPR) and Injury Prevention are eligible to join the Society.  In addition, there are two categories of membership for individuals (Life Member) and organizations (Corporate Membership) who make additional financial contributions to support the Society's objectives and programs.
Benefits of membership in the society include:
  • Participation in a professional organization that supports the teaching of water safety, emergency care and injury prevention;
  • Tenure recgnition awards presented in five-year increments;
  • A forum for exchanging information about programs and materials among the various agencies and organizations involved in safety education;
  • Access to advice and mentoring opportunities from experienced veteran instructors and trainers;
  • Ability to nominate new safety instructors for scholarships that will allow them to pursue professional development training; and
  • Ability to nominate fellow instructors for the Society's National Awards Programs
In addition to the above, members will also receive:
  • A subscription to the quarterly newsletter, The Trident
  • A Commodore Longfellow Society wall certificate, emblem, decal and lapel pin.

Download an application for Society Membership here.

 Please mail membership applications to:
C. P. Dail, Jr.
Treasurer, Commodore Longfellow Society
20744 Apollo Terrace
Ashburn, VA 20147


Scholarships for Health and Safety Instructor/ Instructor Trainer Candidate Training

The Commodore Longfellow Society provides a scholarship program for individuals training to become Instructors or Instructor Trainers in the fields of Water Safety, Emergency Care and Injury Prevention. The Scholarship Program is funded from the interest on an endowment made by the widow of Harold F. (Skipper) Enlows, First Aid and Water Safety National Administrator of the American Red Cross from 1921 to 1945 and by contributions given in the memory of David Earl Harbert, National Commodore of the Commodore Longfellow Society from 2001-2003. The program is also supplemented with funds raised from the Society's membership.


  • Amount of each scholarship will be up to $200.
  • Applicant should demonstrate exceptionally strong promise for utilizing the training.
  • A statement from applicant as to how they will use the training is required.
  • Applicants must be recommended by Commodore Longfellow Society members in good standing.
  • A skills test and review must be completed before the application is accepted with consideration given to the applicant's potential to be an overall asset to the school.
  • Applicant should indicate they will support the ideals of Commodore Longfellow and be familiar with his work and history. It is hoped that the applicant will actively recruit members for the Society.
  • Recipients of scholarships will be given complimentary membership in the Commodore Longfellow Society for one year following successful completion of training.
  • Recipients will be asked to write a brief article to be published in The Trident following training.
Download a scholarship application form here. (Applications should be submitted at least four weeks before the school that the appplicant plans to attend.)
Please mail scholarship applications to:
Mike Espino
YMCA of the USA
540 Estero Ave. Unit A
Morro Bay, CA 93442

Aquatics Director
Bill Kirkner

Aquatics Coordinator
Sue Szembroth



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