Water Safety Advice For Your Business

Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is proud to be the UK and Ireland's industry leader in water-related safety qualifications and training for aquatic, open water, and beach operators and be recognised worldwide as an expert in lifeguarding and water safety.

We work with an impressive list of national leisure operators and partners - from hotels, spas, and competition pools to leisure centres, aqua parks and open water venues and have supported many businesses and landowners in meeting their responsibilities to water safety. 

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

Qualifications and Awards

Water safety training is essential for any business with employees working on, in, or near water. Every year, we certify more than 60,000 regulated qualifications and non-regulated vocational training awards, and more lifeguards qualify with RLSS UK than any other awarding body! 

Training 

We support many large organisations and businesses with more bespoke training needs - including the cruise and holiday industries. We can adapt 'off the shelf' RLSS UK qualifications and awards to provide a solution or create new, bespoke training products or packages tailored to your business.

Consultancy

We are experts at delivering clear and practical consultancy support to any business, organisation or individual with liabilities to visitors and staff around water. Our consultancy work is varied, and we cover a wide range of locations across the UK. For example, in 2023, we completed projects including water safety risk assessments for indoor pools and open water venues, local authorities and private landowners who own/manage bodies of water, as well as water safety audits on the coast. 

RLSS UK Shop

We are also at the forefront of supporting companies in manufacturing and distributing innovative and compliant lifesaving equipment, and the RLSS UK Shop offers official uniforms and training, first aid, and safety equipment for the leisure industry and beyond.

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 the industry-leading water safety training course for organisations with business activities in, on or near water. It teaches candidates the essential knowledge and water safety skills to make informed decisions about managing water safety and safely operating when working near water. RLSS UK's NWSMP DEFRA is aligned with DEFRA water safety training courses and presently offers two water rescue awards, reflecting DEFRA 1 and DEFRA 2.  

On average, one person every month drowns or is impacted by a near-drowning incident whilst at work (based on data 2015-2022)*.

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 DEFRA (NWSMP DEFRA)

    The National Water Safety Management Programme DEFRA (NWSMP DEFRA) is water safety training designed to equip anyone working in, on or near water with essential knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about managing water safety. 

    What training does your team need? RLSS UK NWSMP  RLSS UK NWSMP - DEFRA 
    For those working near water providing safety cover during structured managed activity  Water Safety Awareness DEFRA Training Module 1 – Water and Flood Awareness 
    For those working on the water's edge at risk of needing to self-rescue  DEFRA Training Module 1 & Annex H – Water & Flood Non-Rescue Operations 
    For those working near, on & in INLAND waterways providing safety cover during structured managed activity up to wading depth water  DEFRA Training Module 2 – Water & Flood First Responder 
    For those working near, on & in INLAND waterways providing safety cover during structured managed activity in water deeper than wading depth  Water Safety Awareness & Inland Waterways Module 
    For those working near, on & in COASTAL waterways providing safety cover during structured managed activity  Water Safety Awareness & Coastal Waterways Module 

    What businesses is the NWSMP DEFRA suitable for?

    This water safety course is suitable for a range of employers and their employees, including ecologists, environmental agencies, construction workers, private estates, waterways agencies and trusts, wildlife trusts, Local Authorities/Trusts, Councils and Parish Councils that have teams working near water or floods, water supply and treatment utility companies, and any other companies that have business activities near water.

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

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


    NWSMP DEFRA Course Prerequisites 

    Each candidate attending a NWSMP DEFRA 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 DEFRA 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
      • Land-based rescue techniques
      • PPE and aquatic clothing 
      • Effects of cold water
      DEFRA Training Module 1 & Annex H - Water & Flood Non-Rescue Operations

      This course is for responders who may work near water at risk of needing to self-rescue. The course includes: 

      • Generic open-water hazards
      • Land-based rescue techniques
      • PPE and aquatic clothing 
      • Effects of cold water
      • Moving in shallow water 
      • Self-rescue 
        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
        • Hazards associated with rescue in inland waters
        • Personal safety
        • Risk management, including what to include in a risk assessment for inland waterways
        • Dynamic risk management
        • River crossing
        • Search methods

        Assessment 

        The NWSMP DEFRA 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 into two as follows: 

        DEFRA Training Module 1 - Water & Flood Awareness
        • Practical throw bag rescue
         
        DEFRA Training Module 1 & Annexe H - Water & Flood Non-Rescue Operations
        A practical assessment that includes: 
        • Practical throw bag rescue
        • Self-rescue from moving water
        • Moving in shallow water
        DEFRA Training Module 2 – Water & Flood First Responder
        A practical assessment that includes: 
        • Practical throw bag rescue
        • Self-rescue from moving water
        • River crossing
        • Swimming in moving water
        • Shallow water wading rescue 
        • A 50-metre swim fitness test

        Renewal 

        NWSMP DEFRA candidates may only renew within the validity of their existing award. We recommend that candidates undergo continuous training to keep their skills and knowledge current.


        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 course, visit the RLSS UK Course Finder or email us for more details at [email protected]. 


        Need help selecting the right course for your business needs?

        Click here to view our helpful blog post which compares our open water safety training courses and helps you select the right one for your business.


        *The Water Incident Research Hub (WIRH) aims to improve access to water incident data, aquatic safety, and research. It has published over 150 ‘help’ pages and articles supporting aquatic safety professionals and archived 600 cases, each containing 200+ data points collected from 10,000+ public records relating to UK water incidents between 1993-2023.