14 September 2023

Rookie Lifeguard is the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK)’s flagship water safety programme for children. It was first launched in the 1980s, designed for 8 to 12 years old, and is the starting point for many lifeguards today – whilst the look and feel of Rookie Lifeguard awards have changed a lot over the years, the core principles have always remained the same. 

Offering the Rookie Lifeguard programme on your timetable is a great way of keeping young swimmers engaged in your offering for longer, developing future lifeguards and supporting the local community by promoting and sharing water safety knowledge. 

The objectives of the Rookie Lifeguard programme: 

  • To educate and engage participants about water safety, equipping them with the essential knowledge to recognise hazards and stay safe around water.  
  • Develop basic rescue and lifesaving skills, empowering participants to respond effectively in emergency situations.  
  • Develop interchangeable skills, including building confidence, promoting teamwork, and fostering leadership skills 

How the Rookie Lifeguard Programme works 

The Rookie Lifeguard programme offers a structured curriculum designed to engage and educate young participants. Topics covered include: 

Water Safety Education - recognising different types of water hazards at beaches, rivers, and other open-water locations, and how to adopt safe behaviours around water, considering their own actions and encouraging sharing best practices with others. 

Self-Rescue - teaching water competency skills, including how to float, tread water, and conserve energy in the water. These skills are essential for self-preservation and provide Rookie Lifeguards with the confidence to stay afloat and await assistance in emergencies.  

Rescue Techniques – vital skills to respond effectively in emergencies, including reaching rescues, throwing rescues, and using improvised aids to rescue themselves or others from potentially harmful situations safely. 

Lifesaving Skills - introduces essential lifesaving skills, such as the recovery position, CPR, and basic first aid. These skills empower young individuals to provide immediate assistance and potentially save lives in emergencies, not just in aquatic environments.  

Fitness and Stamina - activities help develop endurance and strength in the water, enhancing overall fitness levels and enabling them to be more confident and capable in all environments.  

Whilst participants benefit greatly from their Rookie Lifeguard training, so do staff and the leisure centre or swimming pool that gets involved. It is quick and easy to qualify staff to deliver the Rookie Lifeguard programme, and most of your lifeguards and/or swimming teachers will not be required to complete any further face-to-face training. 

Click here or more information about offering the Rookie Lifeguard programme at your leisure centre or swimming pool

Click here for essential products to support delivering Rookie Lifeguard