Published: 22 October 2021

Innovative product design that is transforming the way lifeguard training is delivered.

Lifeguard training has evolved over the years and finding new and better ways to support ATCs/ATPs and trainers to deliver high-quality training has always been a priority for RLSS UK. One product that is at the forefront of transforming lifeguard training is the Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikin, so we thought we would look at its origins and what makes it an important part of your training toolkit:

The foundation for the company, and its products, started when Ruth Lee (the actual person!) was asked to repair a fire service manikin and thought she could make a better one -- the rest is history. Since then, the company has strived to continually find better ways to design and develop innovative safety training products.

The main advantage of the manikin is that it imitates the handling of a real person in an unconscious or conscious state, allowing a trainee to complete a full simulated rescue from start to finish and without needing to switch between different equipment and live volunteer casualties. From deep water recovery and towing to assisted lifts and using a rescue board - Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikins allows a trainee to learn essential skills whilst minimising person-to-person contact.  A Canadian lifeguard, who was frustrated with disjointed training, originally came up with the concept of using one manikin for many elements of training. She approached Ruth Lee, the world’s leading manufacturer of rescue training manikins, to see if they could find a solution. The result was a close working relationship forged between Ruth Lee and RLSS UK through a consultation process that took in every stage from design to manufacture, resulting in a manikin that fulfils all the training requirements. RLSS UK now endorses the manikin for various elements of both training and assessment work.

All over the world, lifeguards are changing the way they train, fully appreciative of a complete end-to-end rescue training drill, and today, the manikin is currently sold in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Using the Pool Rescue Manikin in your training provides lifeguards with a realistic experience of retrieving and manoeuvring an unresponsive body in the water; the limbs, weight, size and dimensions all mirror that of a youth casualty. 

Edward Evans, Director at pureTraining in Aberystwyth recently purchased a Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikin and said: “With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, we needed a way to deliver training but still, where possible, maintain social distancing measures and reduce human contact. This manikin enabled us to adapt our training and helped us overcome some of the COVID restrictions.

“As the Adult manikin is approved for use in assessments for the RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), the Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikin also ticked a number of boxes for us.”

New equipment always generates interest and has helped engage even the most seasoned of participants.  It also enabled candidates to complete a full simulated deep water recovery rescue from start to finish which previously had not been possible.

David Springthorpe, Qualification & Workforce Support Manager, RLSS UK, added: “I have now been utilising the Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikin during training sessions for over two years. The big advantage with the manikin is when it comes to simulating the recovery of a casualty from the bottom of the pool and assisted lift outs.  With a full-body manikin, lifeguards and pool responders have a much closer simulation to reality, and it tests their physical fitness and capabilities. During the assisted lift-out, it removes the challenges of using a live person.  It’s now an essential item of my pool training equipment and comes with me for all of my pool related courses.”

CPR training has benefited from a raft of new technology in recent years; however, pool rescue manikins had not seen any new developments until this.”

In June 2022, Ruth Lee Ltd were also named as one of Aquatics International magazine’s 2022 Most Valuable Products. To find out more about the award and the other 25 other aquatic products that made the annual list click here.   

Ruth Lee Pool Rescue Manikins are available at RLSS UK Shop. To order yours now, click here, and don’t forget all profits from the RLSS UK Shop go towards the Charity’s mission to educate as many people as possible on how to enjoy water safely.