RLSS UK’s Rookie Lifeguard programme is taught using colourful materials, and fun, varied lifesaving and rescue activities to give children the skills they need to be confident in the pool or the sea and enjoy water safely, whether in shallow or deeper water.

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 Rookie Lifeguard 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 and Swim Ireland 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.

Find out more information about the stages of the Rookie Lifeguard programme

Click on the Entertain Your Rookies graphic above for fun activity sheets, games and quizzes for your Rookie Lifeguards to download and work through.

Do you want to qualify as a Rookie Lifeguard Instructor?

Already a member of RLSS UK?

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

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

Check the opportunity area of your RLSS UK Account 

Guide on how to view available updates and opportunities

Login to your RLSS UK Account (powered by tahdah)


Already a Qualified Teacher?

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 apply now from £10*
* If you hold a Swim England or Swim Ireland Level 2 Swimming Teachers qualification, you are eligible for the discounted rate of £10 for other qualification holders, the cost will be £15

  • Swim England Level 2 Swimming Teacher*
  • Swim Ireland Level 2 Swimming Teacher*
  • Swim Teacher Level 2 (Other organisation)
  • Sports Coach (Any organisation)
  • AET Level 3 Qualification (or higher)
  • School Teacher (Fully Qualified)
  • Irish Water Safety Instructor
  • SLS Wales Training Assessor
  • SLS GB Training Assessor
  • STA Lifesaving Tutor
  • STA Aquatic Tutor
You will also need to hold or have held one of the following:
  • RLSS UK Survive & Save Bronze, 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 (NRASTC Light)
  • STA Safety Award for Teachers

To access the Rookie Lifeguard Instructor Application, please either

Login to your RLSS UK Account (powered by tahdah)

or, if you are new to RLSS UK

Create your RLSS UK account (powered by tahdah)

When you have successfully logged in, please view and complete an Instructor/ Trainer application

How to view and complete Instructor/ Trainer applications


New to RLSS UK?

Create your RLSS UK account (powered by tahdah)


Already hold an RLSS UK award or qualification?

Activate your RLSS UK account (powered by tahdah)


Looking for a Rookie Lifeguard Instructor Course?

If you do not hold a valid Instructor or Teaching qualification with RLSS UK or another organisation, then you will need to attend a Rookie Instructor course to become qualified as a Rookie Instructor. Rookie Instructor courses can be delivered in 1-day by:

  • NPLQ Trainer Assessors that also hold Rookie Instructor status
  • Lifesaving Instructor Tutors that also hold Rookie Instructor status

Find a course near you!