The answer is: 1989* and today, we wish our National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) a very happy 30th birthday!

Thirty years ago, 2:00pm on Monday 18 September, Bournemouth’s International Centre played host to the annual conference of the Institute of Bath and Recreation Management (IBRM).

In a launch that was chaired by IBRM’s Joint Committee Chairman George Cotterill, keynote speaker Andy Ebben was joined by six hundred people, all bearing witness to the launch of the award programme that was to ultimately become, the UK’s professional standard for pool lifeguarding, the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ).

The first Trainer Assessor (TA) course took place just a few days later, over the weekend of 23 – 24 September at Loughborough and Portsmouth venues.

Hot on the heels of the first TAs qualifying, TA Christine Ebben saw candidates (pictured) Carl English, Ashley Joseph, Josh Lad and Kim Tyers, all from Leicester’s Cossington Street Sports Centre, become the first four people to hold a Pool Lifeguard award.

“Tall oaks from little acorns grow” and now, 30 years on, RLSS UK continues to be at the forefront of lifeguarding and lifesaving training and education, for the UK and Ireland.

Widespread access to water by the general public, places the onus on RLSS UK and similar organisations, to ensure people understand how to enjoy Britain and Irelands’ extensive waterways, safely.

RLSS UK continues to strive towards a world without drowning: it has done since 1891, it continued to do so in 1989 and will do, for many years to come.

*The title of Taylor Swift’s fifth album, Nigel Mansell won the Brazilian Grand Prix and the M42 motorway was completed.