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National Pool Lifeguard Qualification

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National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) Gen 10

RLSS UK’s* NPLQ is the most awarded lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland. More than 35,000 pool lifeguards qualify with the RLSS UK every year, and there are currently more than 74,000 NPLQ-qualified pool lifeguards – 95% of all UK pool lifeguards. The NPLQ is also internationally recognised.

NPLQ Generation 10 is the latest edition of the NPLQ. It is endorsed against the CIMSPA Lifeguard Standard and meets the requirements within the Health and Safety Executive’s Managing Health and Safety in Swimming Pools (HSG179). The NPLQ Gen 10 can be delivered with optional additional qualifications – AED, EFAW, FAW, and Anaphylaxis Management. The NPLQ is a great addition to any CV or higher education application, and from May 2024, NPLQ Gen 10 carries 8 UCAS Tariff points.

If you’d like to learn more about being a lifeguard, click here.

Lifeguard Course Prerequisites

Every candidate attending a NPLQ course must be 16 years old or above at the time of taking the NPLQ final assessment and be able to:

  • Jump/dive into deep water
  • Swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds
  • Swim 100 metres continuously on front and back in deep water
  • Tread water for 30 seconds
  • Surface dive to the floor of the pool
  • Climb out unaided without a ladder/steps and where the pool design permits.

*The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is the industry leader in lifeguarding and lifesaving. RLSS UK Qualifications is at the forefront of lifeguard qualification innovation and development, keeping leisure employees at the cutting edge of lifesaving, lifeguarding, water safety and life support skills, and the RLSS UK badge gives peace of mind to the millions of customers who access leisure facilities every year. As an Awarding Body, RLSS UK Qualifications’ regulators are Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA in Northern Ireland. RLSS UK is a registered charity in England, Wales (1046060), and Scotland (SC037912).

Next training dates:
  • 5-9 August 2024
  • 28 October - 1 November 2024
  • 17-21 February 2025


  • I started as a Lifeguard

    Tom Bartley - Health, Safety and Training Manager for Active Nottingham

    Tom takes great pride in kicking off his career as a lifeguard when he was just 16 years old. Despite being discouraged by a teacher and leaving school without collecting his GCSE results, Tom pursued a lifeguard course, which led him to work at a local leisure centre.

    Discovering his passion for teamwork and the leisure environment, Tom explored various roles within the centre to gain experience. By 18, he obtained his Trainer Assessor (TA) qualification and developed an interest in teaching. Driven to prove his teacher wrong, he progressed to roles such as Swim Lesson Coordinator and Duty Manager.

    At 21, while many peers were in university, Tom became a Facility Coordinator managing a large leisure centre. He later advanced to Operations and Training Manager at a 10,000-capacity entertainment arena, overseeing venue operations and staff training in various qualifications.

    Currently, Tom serves as the Health, Safety & Training Manager across six sports and leisure sites for Active Nottingham, caring for the training of over 200 NPLQ/NRASTC holders. He attributes his success to the Royal Life Saving Society UK and their qualifications, emphasizing their impact on his career.

    Tom encourages those navigating career paths: “If Plan A falters, remember the alphabet has 25 more letters. Your path will reveal itself in due time.”