New lifesaving award

RLSS launches new lifesaving award

Royal Life Saving Society UK announces new academy for budding lifesavers

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) has announced the launch of its new National Lifesaving Academy (NLA).

The NLA programme is designed to provide lifesaving skills for life and includes beach, pool and open water elements. It is the first lifesaving scheme of its kind for the UK and Ireland that recognises prior learning for vocational lifeguard courses, officially acknowledging the skill development and growth of young lifesavers as well as addressing the national shortage of lifeguards.

Nurturing future lifesavers

The NLA is an adaptation of the charity’s Survive & Save programme, which launched in 2011 to give young people the opportunity to learn vital lifesaving skills. The RLSS has evolved the scheme to ensure those participating have the latest skills and knowledge around lifesaving. The NLA will be ran by clubs and leisure centres across the UK and Ireland, and will be accessible to everyone.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at the RLSS said: “We have worked closely with lifesaving instructors, clubs and commercial leisure partners to design a flexible programme that can be delivered to more lifesavers and as a result, allow more people to enjoy water safely.

“We want to make the award more accessible to young people from all backgrounds and households, and this is why we have ensured that the price of the award remains affordable. We also want the skills to be formally recognised to allow career progression within the leisure industry.”

Lifesavers can earn awards at either the beach, in open water or at the pool, or all three if they wish, and progress from the bronze certificate to the bronze medallion – a prestigious award for lifesavers.

Valuable skills in the water

Candidates aged 12 and over will learn first aid, CPR, rescue, fitness skills, how to stay safe around water and how to safely assist others who may have gotten into difficulty in both aquatic and non-aquatic situations.

Clubs and operators are getting ready to offer the programme in the coming months and will be encouraging as many young people as possible to take part in the lifesaving awards. 

To find out more about the new lifesaving academy, visit

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.