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Pre Requisites

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


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.

RLSS UK NPLQ 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.

Renewal of the RLSS UK NPLQ

Renewal candidates may renew their qualification only within the period of validity of their existing qualification as stated on the insignia.

Candidates must meet the following on-going training criteria before being submitted for a renewal assessment:

  • Provide written evidence of having completed a minimum 20 hours lifesaving, CPR, first aid and competency assessment in conjunction with the undertaking of lifeguard duties within the period of validity of the qualification
  • Hold a current full National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)
  • Have access to a copy of “The Lifeguard”, available from Lifesavers Direct.
  • Where lifeguards undertake their activities as part of a club or other voluntary group, the same criteria must be applied in order to ensure a consistent standards within the constraints of their reduced responsibilities.

Approved Prior Learning (APL)

In some circumstances, candidates may be able to show evidence of prior achievement. In such circumstances, training times may be able to be reduced in situations where this would not create disruption to a course programme by disadvantaging other candidates; for example, where the number of candidates remaining for a part of the courses is too small to make the delivery of effective training possible.

Exemptions may apply to holders of the following awards and qualifications (guided learning time credits are shown in brackets):

  • Current RLSS UK National Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NBLQ) [12 hours];
  • Current HSE Approved First Aid at Work Certificate or Occupational First Aid Certificate [9 hours];
  • Current STA NARS [PL] Qualification [9 hours]

Where candidates wish to claim a training exemption, they MUST provide course trainers with original qualifications (photocopies WILL NOT be accepted) prior to the start of the course. Trainers, when planning courses, should alert potential candidates to the exemption scheme in course promotional materials.

A maximum of 12 hours accreditation for prior learning may be claimed.

Above information was provided by the RLSS.