Version: 1
Last updated: January 2020

Click here to download this RLSS UK Guidance Statement


Technology has developed very quickly in recent years; phones and watches can take photos, send and receive messages, e-mails and calls, as well as search the Internet and much more. Many lifeguards have devices, including phones, smartphones, and watches.


Careful supervision by qualified and competent lifeguards and early intervention is the best way to prevent accidents.

Lifeguards must be able to carry out their duties with minimum distraction. Swimming pool incidents can develop quickly, and it is far better to act early and find out it was not required than not to take action and realise that early intervention would have prevented or reduced the severity of a potentially serious incident. Avoiding unnecessary distractions for lifeguards is, therefore, essential.

Lifeguards must never take personal mobile phones or personal smartphones onto poolside, surrounding areas or changing rooms. This could lead to an unnecessary distraction where lifeguards could miss an incident or the opportunity to prevent an incident from developing. The same principle applies to other smart technology such as a smartwatch, music player or similar devices.

No device which can make or receive external calls, news, social media notifications or any other such distraction should be used on the poolside or in changing room areas. A lifeguard’s role is to ensure the safety of the swimmers they are supervising.

Policies and procedures at swimming pool facilities should consider the inclusion of details of how operators will be minimising distractions to enhance the lifeguard’s ability to remain vigilant.

Click here for other RLSS UK Guidance Statements