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 (NWSMP) is an occupational management training solution suitable for employers requiring their workforce to operate safely in or near water. RLSS UK has worked with industry-leading experts and current trainers to undertake a full review of the NWSMP suite of awards and, therefore, presently has two deliverable NWSMP awards.  

On average, 3 people drown at work each year; a further 9 people will be impacted by a near-drowning incident (based on data 2015-2022)*

About the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) 

About the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) 

The National Water Safety 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 in a wide range of industries, including teaching (field trips), construction, environmental health, leisure and emergency services that require their workforce to operate safely in or near water. 

The NWSMP has been developed to meet the learning outcomes of DEFRA module 1 (Water & Flood Awareness training module) and module 2 Water & Flood First Responder training module, along with the needs of educational and outdoor professionals.  

The NWSMP is divided into distinct levels to ensure candidates get the most out of the programme. 

Upon passing any part of the NWSMP suite of awards, the certificate is valid for two years from the date of successful completion. 

The NWSMP awards are accredited with the Institute for Outdoor Learning 


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 Coastal and Inland Waterways module) 
  • For the assessment, candidates must be able to swim 50m in an open water environment. (for Coastal and Inland Waterways module) 

DEFRA courses 

The NWSMP modules meet the DEFRA Module 1 and 2 learning outcomes. 

  • NWSMP Level 1 Water Safety Awareness is equivalent to DEFRA Module 1 - Water & Flood Awareness 
  • NWSMP Inland Waterways Module is the equivalent to DEFRA Module 2 – Water & Flood First Responder. 

When booking a course, you must confirm that the course provider is a NWSMP DEFRA Trainer Assessor (TA).

Click here for more information about the National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) - DEFRA 

Course Content 

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

Water Safety Awareness 

This course is for those working near water as part of a structured activity. The course includes: 

  • Generic Open Water Hazards 
  • Risk Management 
  • Land-based Rescue Techniques  
  • PPE & Aquatic Clothing 
  • Basic Life Support Awareness 

Inland Waterways Module 

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
  • Moving in Shallow Water 

Coastal Waterways Module 

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

  • Coastal-specific Hazards 
  • In Water Rescue Skills 
  • Personal Safety 
  • Dynamic Risk Management 
  • Returning to Shore Through Surf 
  • Coastal Wildlife 


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: 

Water Safety Awareness 

  • Oral Questioning
  • Practical Throw Bag Rescue 
  • Complete a Risk Assessment 

Inland Waterways Module  

  • Inland Waterways Workbook 
  • Practical Assessment 

Coastal Waterways Module 

  • Coastal Waterways Workbook 
  • Practical Assessment 

Update process from NWSMP 1.0 to 2.0

If you are updating your qualification from NWSMP 1.0 to NWSMP 2.0, please view the video below to assist in selecting the most appropriate modules for your requirements. 


NWSMP candidates may only renew their qualification within the validity of their existing NWSMP qualification. 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 this at any level of the National Water Safety Programme (NWSMP) suite of awards. Further guidance is available by accessing the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy - available online at RLSS UK.

Book on a course 

Click here to make an enquiry about an NWSMP course

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


* 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.