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Who is it for?

The RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) is the most awarded lifeguard qualification in the United Kingdom and Ireland that complies with the industry guidance contained within the HSE publication ‘Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools’. The RLSS UK NPLQ is not just a qualification it can be a stepping stone into a career within the leisure industry.


Every candidate, prior to commencement of training for the NPLQ must:

  •  Be 16 years of age at the time of taking the NPLQ assessment;
  •  Be able to meet the following basic fitness criteria:
    •  Jump / dive into deep water
    •  Swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds
    •  Swim 100 metres continuously on front and back in deep water.
    •  Tread water for 30 seconds
    •  Surface dive to the floor of the pool
    •  Climb out unaided without ladder / steps and where the pool design permits

What will I learn?

Training and assessment for the NPLQ is in three sections and all must be successfully passed to attain the NPLQ:

Section 1: The Lifeguard and the Law, Swimming Pool Supervision

  •  Element 1: The Lifeguard and the Law
  •  Element 2: Swimming Pool, Hazards and Control Measures
  •  Element 3: Swimming Pool Supervision

Section 2: Intervention and Rescue and Emergency Action Plans

  •  Element 1: Intervention and Rescue
  •  Element 2: Rescue of a Casualty with a Suspected Spinal Injury
  •  Element 3: Emergency Action Plan

Section 3: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, AED, and First Aid

  •  Element 1: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  •  Element 2: Automated External Defibrillation (AED)
  •  Element 2: First Aid
  •  Element 2 of Section 3 can include an optional bolt of AED on to the qualification

What’s involved?

The course comprises of physical training and theoretical classroom work, followed by a practical in-water and out-of-water assessment on pool rescue, first aid, CPR and lifesaving skills.

The qualification is internationally recognised and is incorporated on the Qualifications Framework at Level 2

Course duration: 36 hours

Course Assessment

Assessment for the NPLQ takes place at the conclusion of a training course for a minimum of 36 hours for new candidates.

It determines your knowledge and understanding of the principles of working as a pool lifeguard.

The assessment will also determine your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a work-related environment as they would apply in a swimming pool.

Your ability is assessed in a range of lifeguarding skills which enable you to deal with common emergency situations in pools.

The Unit 1 assessment is in four parts:

  •  Practical pool assessment
  •  Theory assessment
  •  First aid assessment
  •  CPR assessment

All sections of the NPLQ must be successfully assessed within a 28 day period, and for renewal candidates, within the period of validity of your existing qualification.

Benefits of becoming a lifeguard

We think there are loads of great reasons why you’d want to become a lifeguard and we guess you must think it’s a pretty good idea too, which is why you are here…

Reasons why we think you’d love it:

  •  First and foremost you are providing an amazing public service. You will without a doubt make people feel confident, happier and safer just by being on the poolside and you could potentially save a life
  •  Being a lifeguard offers a fantastic foundation to a career in the leisure industry. Many senior managers began their rise to leisure stardom by lifeguarding at their local pools
  •  The opportunity to get fit. Not only will you have to have a basic level of fitness to become a lifeguard but you will be encouraged to stay fit and get fitter
  •  Many pools will give their lifeguards discounted or even free memberships
  •  You get to work with a team of like-minded people, so there’s plenty of opportunity to increase your social circle!
  •  The hours are flexible and perfect for those of you who need to fit studying into your busy days

Lastly but still very importantly, you will gain a life skill that will come in handy for the rest of your life that could lead to enhanced career progression and a stepping stone to the National Pool Management Qualification (NPMQ).

What’s next?

On successful completion of the course you will be fully qualified to work as a Pool Lifeguard. Generally, the NPLQ is a recruitment requirement for a number of jobs from Pool Lifeguard to Centre Manager.

The NPLQ is valid for 2 years from the date of issue and a further 20 hours of ongoing training and competency assessment must be completed before a lifeguard can renew their qualification prior to the expiry of their existing award

Upcoming Courses

Monday 21 February – Saturday 26 February 2022

Contact Zoe Pearson for further details; or call 01706 927209

Enquire about training with us