National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has teamed up with Surf Life Saving Association (SLSA) Wales and Surf Life Saving (SLS) GB to develop a new national standard for beach lifeguarding.

The National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) was launched in April along with new resources.

The NVBLQ complies with the International Life Saving Federation beach competency framework. It will be offered by all three organisations and is endorsed by the National Water Safety Forum and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

The NVBLQ will be recognised and promoted by RLSS UK, SLS GB, SLSA Wales as the national standard for vocational beach lifeguarding.

The NVBLQ course is a minimum of 40 hours long followed by a practical assessment on beach theory, life support, first aid, swimming pool practical and open water practical.

Upon qualifying with the NVBLQ, the certificate is valid for two years from the date of successful completion.

NVBLQ Course Pre-Requisites

Every candidate attending a NVBLQ course must:

  • Be 16-years-old or over at the time of the assessment
  • Have a good level of fitness
  • Surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
  • Tread water for two minutes
  • Climb out of deep water unaided and without steps
  • Be competent at swimming in the sea
  • Be able to swim 400m in less than eight minutes
  • Swim 100m on the front, 100m on the back and 200m in less than four minutes

Course Content

The NVBLQ covers all elements of beach lifeguard theory, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, pool skills and open water skills. The course is physically demanding and will include swimming to set times and lifting. The NVBLQ is comprised of four modules and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.

Module 1 – Beach Lifeguarding – Knowledge and Understanding

Module 2 – Life Support and First Aid

Module 3– Ocean Skils

Module 4 – Pool Skills


The NVBLQ assessment takes place at the end of the course. It determines your competence, skills and knowledge of working as a beach lifeguard and assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a beach environment.

The assessment is split into five elements:

  1. Beach Lifeguard and First Aid Theory
  2. Life Support and First Aid
  3. First Aid Practical
  4. Ocean Skills
  5. Pool Skills


Beach Lifeguards may renew their qualification only within the validity of their existing qualification. Lifeguards are recommended to engage in continuous training to ensure they are ready for duty.

Approved Prior Learning (APL)

In some circumstances, candidates may be able to show evidence of prior achievement to exempt themselves from section of the course. Exceptions may apply to holders of the following awards and qualifications (guided time credits are shown in brackets):

  • Current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) [12 hours]
  • Current RLSS UK Life Support 3 [3 hours]
  • Current First Aid at Work Certificate or Occupational First Aid Certificate [9 hours]

Where candidates wish to claim a training exemption, they must provide the course trainer with original qualifications prior to the start of the course.

A maximum of 12 hours accreditation for prior learning may be claimed.


NVBLQ Guidance and Syllabus_cover

NVBLQ Board Rescues Skills & Guidance

RLS2234 Assessment, Competency, Interest Form_AW.indd

Malibu Assessment / Competency / Interest Form


  • The NVBLQ is internationally recognised, so potential to work and travel
  • Work within a team
  • Great way for students to fund studies
  • Learn essential life skills, including First Aid and CPR

Where can I take the National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification?


Find NVBLQ courses running in your area at www.rlsscourses.org.uk or email us for more details mail@iql.org.uk

Click here to download a Beach Incident Report Form.