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New Open Water Lifeguard Course Announced.


The RLSS UK have recently announced some exciting updates to the Open Water Lifeguard qualifications that are on offer.

For the past two years RLSS UK have offered an Open Water Lifeguard bolt-on module, targeting qualified swimming pool lifeguards. This update introduces a brand new, specific three-day Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) qualification.

Candidates do not need to hold the NPLQ, making the course more accessible and it is hoped that more specialist open water lifeguards will be recruited and qualified. The new OWL qualification will cover open water environment; hazards and supervision; responding to an emergency and taking action and CPR and First Aid. By attaining this qualification candidates will have been assessed as competent to provide supervision and rescue cover for planned, organised and risk-assessed activities in still, non-tidal open water. The qualification is valid for 2 years.

This is an exciting time for the RLSS UK and British Triathlon partnership, SH2OUT, as it marks a positive step forward in the development in open water swimming provisions and safety. SH2OUT aims to not only provide guidance and resources, but also endorse other programmes, qualifications and services. This will help to help the open water swimmer and stakeholder know what the best options are. To support with this work, a “Recognised by SH2OUT” logo has been developed. Whenever a programme, qualification, service or resource carries the “Recognised by SH2OUT” logo, the stakeholder will know that SH2OUT has reviewed and chosen to endorse the product/programme. The past few years have seen a marked increase in the number of swimmers using open water venues and especially novice swimmers taking to open water for the first time during triathlon competitions. This poses a risk for event organisers and drives a need for safety staff with the skills to deal with the challenges of lifeguarding in open water.

Jenny Vincent, British Triathlon National Open Water Development Manager said “It is fantastic that the RLSS UK have developed this qualification and we are confident that it will support open water swimming venues to train and develop competent water safety teams to support the delivery of safe open water swimming sessions”

RLSS UK will be organising a number of Open Water Lifeguard courses across the UK this autumn, if you would like to attend a course, please see here: or email