The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) and the Black Owned Swim School (B.O.S.S) are celebrating their Strategic Partnership by welcoming a new generation of lifeguards.

The two organisations have been working together since 2021 to help underrepresented communities access swimming lessons, water safety education, and opportunities in the aquatics and leisure industry.

The risk of drowning in England is more than three times higher for children of black ethnicity, compared to white children* and statistics show that only 51% of black children in the UK can swim, compared to 73% for white British children**.

RLSS UK funded five B.O.S.S swimmers to train and qualify in its National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) in the spring. B.O.S.S then funded for four of them and one other to go on to be Trainer Assessors in the qualification, so they could go on to train more lifeguards themselves. 

The teams, which trained at sites in London and Birmingham, have since gone on to work in two colleges over the summer to train a further 24 lifeguards in the NPLQ Gen 10 which was launched in June. 


Charity Director at RLSS UK, Lee Heard, said: “We want to reach as many people as possible to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy water safely, no matter their background.

“We know that those from black and ethnic minority communities are disproportionately represented in those who tragically drown each year, and are also less likely to enter a career in the leisure industry. This partnership aims to create systemic change, and our charity funding such opportunities is one part of how we are striving to achieve it.”

Annalize Butler (B.O.S.S) gives water safety advice to classroom of children

Annalize Butler, owner and founder of B.O.S.S said: “B.O.S.S is about reconnecting people with the water in an effortless and exciting way, bringing new opportunities to engage an underrepresented audience and level up in the aquatics industry.

“By working with organisations such as RLSS UK, we can actively change the way people think about swimming and water safety, breaking down some of the many barriers some people face.

“The lifeguards trained were given this fantastic opportunity by RLSS UK, and the Trainer Assessors have now gone on to train even more lifeguards in a new career. I am very proud of all of them.”

Annalize also achieved the NPLQ and is now a Trainer Assessor. She also works with Charleston Academy and community of 15-year-old Thandolwethu Ndlovu who drowned in the river Trent in Derby in 2021. She is delivering water safety education to more than 1000 children in the area.  

Find out more about becoming a lifeguard

No child should drown. We provide expert lifesaving education in the UK and Ireland, protecting families from the sudden and devastating impact of drowning.

Donate now so that we can give even more people the opportunity to enjoy water safely and access employment opportunities in the leisure industry. 


*National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) - Deaths of Children and Young People due to traumatic incidents report, July 2023.

** Swimming data based on being able to swim 25m from Sports England Active Lives Survey 20/21.