Water Safety Advice For Your Business

Established more than 130 years ago, RLSS UK is recognised worldwide as an expert in lifeguarding and water safety. 

Every year we certify more than 60,000 regulated qualifications and non-regulated vocational training awards, and more lifeguards qualify with us than with any other awarding body! Why? Because we're at the cutting edge of water safety, lifesaving, lifeguarding, and life support skills. We rigorously review our qualifications, and we sit on many industry panels to evolve and develop national safety standards. We are also at the forefront of supporting companies to manufacture and distribute innovative and compliant lifesaving equipment, and the RLSS UK Shop offers official uniform and training, First Aid, and safety equipment for the leisure industry.

We work with an impressive list of national leisure providers and partners - ranging from hotels, spas, and competition pools to leisure centres and aqua parks. We develop bespoke training services for many sectors - including the cruise and holiday industries and are experts at delivering clear and practical consultancy support to any business or individual with liabilities to visitors and staff around water, including events, construction, and outdoor recreation.

Our trusted brand gives peace of mind to businesses and the millions of customers who access the facilities we support.

To find out how we can help your business, contact us at [email protected].

The National Water Safety Management Programme DEFRA (NWSMP DEFRA) is a water safety and water rescue training course designed for employers requiring their workforce to operate safely in or near water. RLSS UK's NWSMP DEFRA presently offers two water rescue awards, which are in line with DEFRA module 1 and DEFRA module 2.  

Click here or view the map at the bottom of the webpage to find a NWSMP DEFRA Instructor

    About the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) DEFRA

    The National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) aims to be a leading suite of awards designed to equip anyone working in, on or near water with essential knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about managing water safety. The awards are suitable for employers, including teaching (field trips), construction, environmental health, leisure and emergency services that require their workforce to operate safely in or near water. 

    The NWSMP DEFRA element of the programme meets the learning outcomes of DEFRA Module 1 (Water & Flood Awareness training module) and Module 2 (Water & Flood First Responder training module). 

    Upon passing any NWSMP award, the certificate is valid for three years from the date of successful completion. 

    NWSMP Course Prerequisites 

    Each candidate attending an NWSMP course must: 

    • Be 16 years old or over at the time of being assessed
    • Have a good level of fitness
    • Be competent at swimming in open-water environments (for DEFRA Module 2)
    • For the assessment, candidates must be able to swim 50m in an open water environment. (For DEFRA Module 2) 

      Course Content 

      The NWSMP is split into two levels to ensure candidates get the most out of the course. 

      DEFRA Training Module 1 - Water & Flood Awareness 

      This course is for responders who may work near water as part of their role. The course includes: 

      • Generic Open Water Hazards
      • Risk Management 
      • Land-based Rescue Techniques
      • PPE & Aquatic Clothing 
        DEFRA Training Module 2 Water & Flood First Responder 

        This module focuses on specific inland waterway hazards along with in-water skills. 

        • Inland-Specific Hazards
        • In Water Rescue Skills
        • Personal Safety
        • Dynamic Risk Management
        • River Crossing


        The NWSMP assessment takes place at the end of each level/ module. It determines your competence, skills, and knowledge of working near/in water and assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge learnt in the specific environment. The assessment is split as follows: 

        DEFRA Training Module 1 - Water & Flood Awareness
        • Practical Throw Bag Rescue
        DEFRA Training Module 2 – Water & Flood First Responder
        Practical assessment includes: 
        • River Crossing
        • Swimming in Moving Water
        • In-water Rescue 


        NWSMP candidates may only renew within the validity of their existing award. We recommend candidates engage in continuous training to ensure they keep their skills and knowledge up to date. 

        Approved Prior Learning (APL) 

        There is currently no APL for National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) awards.

        Further guidance is available by accessing the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy - available online at RLSS UK.

        Book on a course 

        To find your nearest NWSMP DEFRA courses, visit Course Finder or email us for more details at [email protected].