RLSS UK’s Rookie Lifeguard programme gives your child the skills they need to be confident in the pool or the sea – which means peace of mind for you. With colourful materials and fun, varied activities, the Rookie Lifeguard scheme teaches children how to swim and enjoy water safely, whether in shallow or deeper water.


About the programme 

Built into the programme are lessons in valuable survival, rescue and sports skills…all delivered in an exciting way that will get children involved and motivated. The course can run parallel to your child’s current swimming lessons and will enhance the skills they learn in the pool.

For many of our Rookie Lifeguards, our programme offers the first opportunity to explore water safety, gradually gaining independence and confidence while learning vital life skills. Our programme will inspire and embolden your child, helping them keep themselves, their friends and their family safe in the water through a range of fun activities that lead towards a series of awards.

Rookie Lifeguard is aimed at children – though the skills learned through the course of the programme are just as valuable to people of all ages. The scheme begins with Stage 1 of the Bronze Award and progresses to Stage 3 of the Gold Award, starting off at an ability level suitable for brand-new swimmers and progressing to the level where our Rookie Lifeguards perform impressive lifesaving tows.

Rookie Lifeguard is part of the Swim England Learn to Swim Programme, although it can also be run as a stand-alone course by junior lifesaving clubs, leisure centres, swimming schools and as part of school swimming lessons. The Rookie Lifeguard programme fulfils all of the Key Stage 2 water safety elements of the National Curriculum and is taught by RLSS UK approved instructors.

Even the shyest kids find they make new friends through the Rookie Lifeguard scheme, as teamwork and peer support are crucial elements of the programme.

Check out our Rookie Lifeguards in the video below!


Do you want to qualify as a Rookie Instructor?

Already a member of RLSS UK?

If you are a current member of RLSS UK and hold one our Trainer Assessor (TA) or Instructor qualifications below, you’ll be able to update to deliver this award.

Check your opportunity area on RLSS Direct here

  • NPLQ TA (or higher)
  • NWSMP Instructor (or higher)
  • Lifesaving Instructor (or higher


New to RLSS UK?

If you hold a valid Instructor or Teaching qualification with another organisation, from the list below, and would like to take your skills to the next level, you can.

Become a Rookie Instructor by completing an online application here

  • Swim Teacher Level 2 (Any Organisation)*
  • Sports Coach Level 2 (Any Organisation)*
  • AET Level 3 Qualification (or higher)*
  • School Teacher (Fully Qualified)*
  • Irish Water Safety Instructor
  • SLS Wales Trainer Assessor
  • SLS GB Trainer Assessor
  • STA Lifesaving Tutor
  • STA Aquatic Tutor

*You will also need to hold or have held one of the following:

  • RLSS UK Survive & Save Silver or Gold Award
  • RLSS UK Heritage Bronze Medallion, Award of Merit, Bronze Cross, Silver Cross or Distinction
  • RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ)
  • RLSS UK Emergency Response (ER) Pool
  • RLSS UK National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ)
  • RLSS UK National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches (NRASTC)
  • RLSS UK National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches Light (NRASTC Light)
  • STA Safety Award for Teachers