Lifesaving Sport

Welcome to the NEW Lifesaving Sports Area, this area has been set up to help you easily navigate everything lifesaving sport related! 

The Royal Life Saving Society UK is a National Governing Body for Lifesaving Sport - a sport recognised by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation. 

Our aim is to provide an inclusive range of opportunities to increase participation in lifesaving activities.

We recognise the importance of equipping as many people as possible with valuable lifesaving skills to help save as many lives as possible and to help reduce the drowning toll in the UK.

Rookie Sport

Rookie Sports Bolt (Bronze, Silver and Gold)

Rookie Sports awards are a series of bolt ons which offer a progressive introduction to Lifesaving Sport skills.  Skill are broken down into sections to allow for skill development, and targets are set to support the development of fitness and speed. This award, while aimed at Rookies (8 to 12years), can be used as an introduction for any age group.

Rookie Sport: Diving

This bolt on provides a progressive introduction to diving.  This award is an excellent pre-runner for the competitive start checklist (a requirement for pool based competition).

Rookie Sport: Beach Running

Beach Running is an experiential award to introduce Rookies to specific aspects of Lifesaving Sport. It can be completed during visits to the beach or in a suitable outside area.

It is recommended that Beach Sports: Beach Running is completed after the Beach Activities Award as the Beach Activities Award provides an excellent introduction to safety at the beach.

Survive and Save Sport

Sport element of Survive & Save

The RLSS UK Survive & Save Programme is a series of awards that challenge and develop your skills and knowledge in aquatic survival, rescue, sport, and fitness.

Lifesaving Sport is a unique and challenging sport, because it combines competitive swimming skills with modified rescue skills from the world of lifesaving and lifeguarding.  

Lifesaving Sport takes place in and out of water, at swimming pools and at the beach. The sport provides variety, fun and challenging activities for all lifesavers of all ages. It can provide the opportunity to mix with lifesavers from around the UK, and the rest of the world, through competition.

This element contains all the fundamental skills needed to take part in pool based lifesaving sport.

Whilst taking the Lifesaving Sport Awards you will also develop real lifesaving skills so you will know what you do if a real-life emergency happens near you.

Competitive Start

The competitive start competency checklist was introduced several years ago to ensure the safety of lifesavers who perform dives, especially with equipment.  The skill of diving is progressively introduced, with the slow introduction of equipment.  Completion of the appropriate level of diving competency is demanded for dive starts under RLSS UK rules.

RLSS UK Competitive Starts

RLSS UK guidance is that such competence should be demonstrated by achieving the standard of the RLSS UK Diving Competency.

For Club, Branch, Regional and National competitions where no diving from blocks occurs, only sections 1 and 2 (highlighted in blue) need to be completed.  However, any Lifesaver competing at any speed competition will need to complete all sections.

As with the Swim England if a Lifesaver suffers an injury while performing racing dives our insurers may request written confirmation of the competence of the Lifesaver and any training undertaken.

It is therefore essential that both the club and the coach, keep records up to date regarding the competence and training of the Lifesavers.

The RLSS UK Diving Competency is designed to assess:

  • The Lifesaver's ability to perform a safe racing dive into deep water from the side of the pool
  • The Lifesaver's ability to perform a safe racing dive into deep water from a starting block
  • The Lifesaver's ability to perform a safe racing dive into shallow water from the side of the pool
  • The Lifesaver’s ability to perform safe entries in all the above whilst wearing a rescue tube
  • The Lifesaver’s ability to perform safe entries in all the above whilst fins
  • The Lifesaver's ability to perform safe entries in all the above whilst wearing fins and wearing a rescue tube


Diving Competency guidance notes.

Diving Competency Check List.