National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification

2014 saw Lifesaving governing bodies and service providers from across the UK working in close partnership to develop the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ). Further collaboration with the RNLI led to the agreement for this vocational award to be recognised as the minimum standard for all beach lifeguards and beach lifeguard service operators.  The NVBLQ remains recognised as a pre-requisite for employment for RNLI beach lifeguards across the UK.  

During the recent pandemic, the Royal Lifesaving Society UK (RLSS UK) and Surf Lifesaving Association Wales (SLSA Wales) worked closely with the RNLI to adapt the standard and to ensure it met all requirements. RLSS UK and SLSA Wales subject matter experts worked together to ensure that any changes to the NVBLQ were made based on the experience and expertise of both organisations.  This ensured that the standards of training and assessment (and therefore competency levels of lifeguards, both volunteer and paid) was not compromised, whilst considering the risks posed by COVID-19 during training, assessment, and lifesaving operations. Our panel of subject matter experts sit on the National Water Safety Forum and the award continues to be a significant element of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy.

With so much uncertainty and changes to the working practices and demands on lifeguards, service providers, and volunteer lifesaving clubs, it was essential that RLSS UK and SLSA Wales worked together to ensure that lifesavers and lifeguards were able to achieve and renew their qualifications.

RLSS UK continues to work with SLSA Wales to ensure that, as the pandemic situation changes and affects guidance from the devolved nations, Public Health England, Public Health Wales, The World Health Organisation (WHO), and the International Life Saving Federation, the NVBLQ remains fit-for-purpose and continues to allow trainers to provide courses.

SLSA Wales and RLSS UK are looking forward to building and strengthening their relationship to ensure both organisations are at the forefront of beach lifeguarding and qualification development in the future. Together we will continue to adapt and innovate and to ensure the NVBLQ continues to meet the requirement of beach operators and the RNLI.