The first Briton to complete a gruelling challenge to swim the toughest seven oceans in the world has become the UK’s first Open Water Lifeguard, following the launch of the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s (RLSS UK) new qualification last month (5 April).

RLSS UK Ambassador, Ocean Walker, Adam Walker, has become the first RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard following his pledge last year to help others stay safe while enjoying open water and to encourage the activity in supervised environments.

Adam Walker said: “As the ‘Ocean Walker’ I know all about the potential dangers involved after swimming across seven of the world’s oceans, by completing the ‘Ocean 7’ challenge.

“Throughout all my swims, safety was always of paramount importance and I would not have achieved what I have without the right knowledge and safety measurements in place. The new RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard qualification gives lifeguards the skills to keep the ever increasing number of open water swimmers safe.

“This qualification is a milestone in the open water swimming sport and will encourage more people to take up the sport, with the comfort that they know they are safe.”

Open water swimming is the fastest growing sport worldwide and this, combined with around 60 per cent of all drownings tragically occuring in inland open waters in the UK each year, has led to RLSS UK taking action to reduce these figures.

The new, unique Open Water Lifeguard qualification aims to keep the rapidly increasing number of open water swimmers in the UK safe and supports RLSS UK’s bid to increase the number of safe open water swimming sites in the UK.

“The sport is such an important life skill and there are so many benefits from fitness to the exhilaration of being at one with nature. I am proud to not only be an RLSS UK Ambassador but to be the UK’s first Open Water Lifeguard,” Adam added.

RLSS UK’s Technical Director, Adrian Lole said: “We are honoured that Adam is the first person to complete our new Open Water Lifeguard qualification.

“With open water swimming increasing popularity there is a risk that lifeguards without all the skills they need maybe asked to lifeguard open water. This qualification prevents that and equips lifeguards with the right skills to supervise and provide rescue for the nations open water swimmers during training and controlled activities such as triathlons and adventure swim races.

“We want more people to have the option of swimming safely at lifeguarded sites and are working, with the help of Adam, with the government and local authorities to provide safe open water swimming sites.

“With Adam as the first ever Open Water Lifeguard, it will inspire generations to take the plunge into open water safely.”