Open Water Lifeguard Qualifications

Introduction to the RLSS UK Open Water Lifeguard Qualifications

The Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) Qualification was developed by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to address the role of open water lifeguards and the needs of open water operators. As the open water industry continues to grow, the RLSS UK have endeavoured to respond to change through the ongoing development of this qualification. The OWL qualification can be used to supervise and provide rescue cover for planned, organised and risk assessed activities in still, non-tidal water.

RLSS UK has also developed an Open Water Lifeguard ‘bolt-on’ Module, targeting qualified swimming pool lifeguards. The ‘bolt-on’ module equips lifeguards with both the knowledge and experience to supervise and provide rescue cover for planned, organised and risk assessed activities in still, non-tidal water.

 Note - the Open Water Lifeguard ‘bolt-on’ Module will only be available until the end of the 2019 open water season. Candidates that hold a current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) can now attend a one-day RPL OWL qualification course and will be externally assessed, to gain a 2 year OWL qualification

To find an Open Water Lifeguard course, click here!


Open Water Lifeguard (OWL) Qualification

The Open Water Lifeguard qualification enables candidates with no previous lifeguard experience to become qualified. By attaining this qualification candidates will have been assessed as competent to provide supervision and rescue cover for planned, organised and risk-assessed activities in open water still, non-tidal.

The Open Water Lifeguard Qualification, delivered over three days, is valid for two years and is independently assessed. The candidate manual and trainer resources help the Open Water Lifeguard Trainer Assessor deliver through the three sections:

Section 1 - The Open Water Lifeguard, environment, hazards and supervision
Section 2 - Responding to an emergency and taking action
Section 3 - CPR and First Aid

New candidates: 18hrs + Assessment
Renewal candidates: 10hrs + Assessment
 

Pre-requisites:

  • Must be 16 years of age at the date of assessment
  • Be able to meet the following criteria:
    • Confident in open water
    • Able to swim at least 400 metres in a pool/ open water swimming continuously on their front and showing urgency
    • Able to submerge under the water confidently
  • Must complete minimum guided learning hours
  • Successfully complete the course assessment

Current National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) holders can use RPL* from their NPLQ and attend a one-day RPL OWL qualification course, which will include an assessment by an OWL Assessor if successful they will be awarded an OWL qualification valid for 2 years.

Note, this course must only be delivered to current RLSS UK NPLQ holders only and should not include non-NPLQ candidates or a combination of the both.

RPL New candidates: 7hrs + Assessment

*Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of recognising a candidate’s previous achievement towards part of a qualification.

To find an Open Water Lifeguard course, click here!


RPL Open Water Lifeguard Qualification

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is the process of recognising a candidate’s previous achievement towards part of a qualification.

Candidates that hold a current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) can attend a one-day RPL OWL qualification course and will be externally assessed. Once successfully obtained the OWL qualification can be used as a standalone qualification to supervise and provide rescue cover for planned, organised and risk assessed activities in still, non-tidal water.

Note, this course must only be delivered to current RLSS UK NPLQ holders only and should not include non-NPLQ candidates or a combination of the both.

The RPL Open Water Lifeguard Qualification, delivered over one day, is valid for two years and is independently assessed. The candidate manual and trainer resources help the Open Water Lifeguard Trainer Assessor deliver through the two sections:

Section 1 - The Open Water Lifeguard, environment, hazards and supervision
Section 2 - Responding to an emergency and taking action

RPL New candidates: 7hrs + Assessment

Pre-requisites:

  • Must hold a current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ).
  • Be able to meet the following criteria:
    • Confident in open water
    • Able to swim at least 400 metres in a pool/ open water swimming continuously on their front and showing urgency
    • Able to submerge under the water confidently
  • Must complete minimum guided learning hours
  • Successfully complete the course assessment

 To find an Open Water Lifeguard course, click here!


Open Water Lifeguard ‘bolt-on’ Module

The Open Water Lifeguard ‘bolt-on’ module allows all pool lifeguards who hold the RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) to develop their skills and knowledge to lifeguard open water.

The ‘bolt-on’ module will bridge the gap and equips lifeguards with both the knowledge and experience to keep people safe in open water. This bolt-on will only provide an OWL module whilst their NPLQ is valid.

The module is delivered over 1 day at an open water venue and is split into the following:

Section 1 - Open Water Hazards
Section 2 - Lifeguarding an Open Water Site
Section 3 - Practical in-water training

New candidates – 6hrs minimum (including continuous assessment)

Pre-requisites:

  • Must hold a current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ).
  • Be able to meet the following criteria.
    • Candidates should be able to complete a continuous swim of at least 400 metres in a pool.
    • Candidates should be able to dive to a depth of up to two metres without danger to their hearing

Become a Trainer 

For more information about becoming an Open Water Lifeguard Trainer - Click here