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.

The National Speed Championships (Speeds), the largest competition of its kind in the UK, sees lifesaving athletes aged 12 and upwards from across the UK and Ireland competing for national titles in what is the only sport that has a humanitarian foundation.

The sporting competition helps promote lifesavers’ skills, knowledge and techniques and plays an important role in spreading the RLSS UK water safety messages as the Drowning Prevention charity.

Speeds Events


The competitor swims 200m in freestyle, during which they swim under eight obstacles

50m Manikin Carry

The competitor swims 25m in freestyle, picks up a manikin and tows it to the finish

100m Rescue Medley

After a 50m swim in freestyle, the competitor swims underwater to pick up a manikin and carry it to the finish

100m Manikin Carry with Fins

The competitor swims 50m freestyle wearing fins and then dives to recover a submerged manikin.  The competitor carries the manikin to the finish edge of the pool

100m Manikin Tow with Fins

The competitor swims 50m freestyle with fins and rescue tube, the competitor then fixes the rescue tube around a manikin floating at the surface at the edge and tows it to the finish

200m Super Lifesaver

After a 75m swim in freestyle and a 25m carry of the manikin the competitor puts on the fins and rescue tube and swims 50m in freestyle followed by fixing the rescue tube around the manikin and towing it to the finish

Line Throw

The competitor coils a rope, throws it out to a team mate and pulls them back in

4 x 50m Rescue Tube Relay

Four competitors swim 50m using a different technique. The first swims 50m in freestyle, the second 50m freestyle with fins, the third pulls a rescue tube swimming in freestyle, and the fourth takes over the rescue tube and swims freestyle with fins towing the third competitor who is holding on to the rescue tube

4 x 25m Manikin Carry

Four competitors in turn carry a manikin approximately 25m each

4 x50m Obstacle Relay

Four competitors swim 50m freestyle each passing under two obstacles

Pool Lifesaver Relay

First of four competitors swim 50m freestyle, the second swims 50m with fins and dives to retrieve a submerged manikin. The manikin is passed to the third competitor who carries it 50m without fins to competitor four.  Wearing fins, competitor four carries the manikin 50m to the finish.

Line Throw Relay

Each competitor takes turns to coil a rope, throw it out to a team mate and pull them back in.

Lifesaving Sport Equipment

Lifesaving Sport Rescue Tube

The ILS rescue tube is the standard rescue tube used in speed lifesaving events. The tube is made from yellow closed cell expended foam of approximately 1m in length, and has a length of webbing and a stainless-steel clip attached to it. The traditional RLSS UK red 'torpedo buoys' are not suitable or allowed in speed competitions.


(often referred to as a 'Tango Man').

The ILS manikin is a standardised rescue manikin used for lifesaving sport. It replaces the 'live casualty' with a deadweight that is full equal and repeatable throughout the world, thus eliminating the problems with casualties who are different size, weight and buoyancy.

The manikin is orange in colour, made of high-density polyurethane or polypropylene material. There is a white painted band around the manikins 'torso' and another white painted area on the back of the head. When full of water the manikin weighs in at approximately 8 ½ stone. The manikin is 1 metre in length, and is sealed watertight with screw-in plastic 'bungs'. In speed competitions the manikin is full or half-filled depending on the event and the age of the competitors.

Throw Line

(17 metres) traditionally orange within the UK.

A throw line is a 17metre multifilament polypropylene rope, 8mm diameter, 8 plait rope and traditionally orange in colour, however many juniors can and do train with a shorter and thinner rope.

Lifesaving Fins

Fins are measured while not worn. Swim fins used in competitions shall comply with the following specifications:

Length: maximum overall length 65cm, including 'shoe' or ankle strap (ankle strap extended).

Width: 30cm maximum at the widest point of the blade

Swim fins will not be permitted if they do not conform to the above dimensions or if they are considered to constitute a safety hazard.

Each team must provide their own swim fins for competitors.

All lifesaving sport equipment is available from RLSS Direct