- Environmental protection
- The spreading of the knowledge and abilities of swimming, rescue swimming and first aid in the population, in particular at the youth, in schools and federations
- Teach and train the members in rescue swimming
- Organization of competitions
- Basic and advanced training in first aid
- Education of young members
- Cooperation with the German civil protection, especially in case of flood
In order to accomplish these tasks the Wasserwacht also educates interested people in qualified technical personnel:
Its major task is the training from nonswimmers to floats (beginner swimming classes) and strengthening the swimming talents by regular swimming training. The teachers for swimming also educates members and non-members in swimming badges. They are according to official guidelines and go from the "Seepferdchen" (early float certificate) up to the German swimming badge in gold.
Resucue Swimming (Rettungsschwimmen)
This group is responsible for the education and training of lifeguards.
With larger waters it is not enough to make only lifeguards available. Especially to oversee regattas and sail meetings rescue boats can often save lives easier and faster.
Rescue Diving (Rettungstauchen)
Rescue divers are needed for the salvage of goods, of vehicles and in addition of garbage. But unfortunately the salvage of corpses also belongs to the tasks of a rescue diver. The education usually takes 1-2 years. Each active rescue diver of the Wasserwacht has to undergo a dive-medical investigation annually.
The bavarian city Regensburg is considered as the place of birth of the water emergency service of the German Red Cross. There, in 1883 during a flood Red Cross aids were flood-rescue-used for the first time. In the following years so called "Sanitäts- und Wasserwehrkolonnen" (medical- and water-rescue stations) developed at the coast and at inland waters.
After the Second World War the Wasserwacht, as all federations, was forbidden by the allied military administration. But the Bavarian red cross, a regional organization of the German Red Cross, got already two months after the Third Reich broke down, in view of rising drowning numbers the order to resume its work in water rescue again. Further regional organizations followed the example of Bavaria and reinserted the water emergency service.
For the execution of the water emergency service the Wasserwacht makes so called Schnelleinsatzgruppen (expeditious operating groups) available. Each member of such a task force is equipped with a radio receiver. Record grups itself are usually equipped with special water rescue instruments.