National Swimming Certificate Awards


SEAL, MARLIN, ORCA Certificates

The Benchmark for Swimming Awards

Children are naturally curious about water and are attracted to it for a wide variety of activities. Water Safety Ireland, the statutory body established by govt to promote water safety in Ireland has developed this programme so that children are encouraged to enjoy aquatic activities by first learning to swim safely.

Ireland has some of the best aquatic environments in the world and Water Safety Ireland is committed to developing programmes that set the standard necessary for everyone to enjoy these environments safely and enjoyably.

Parents and Guardians also benefit with the peace of mind that this programme is Government approved and results from over fifty years of research and development by hundreds of water safety experts. The programme offers a one-stop-shop to learning swimming skills in a safe and carefully planned sequence.

The Swimming Skills Series

The certification consists of a progression of fifteen stages. Children receive a personalised full-colour A4 certificate and (optional) woven colour badge upon completion of each stage. The test items for each stage can be read on pages 3, 4 and 5.

Once children complete the SEAL series, they progress to the Marlin series and on to the more advanced Orca series of competencies. There are five levels in each series and a total of 15 levels in all. This ensures that the child progresses at a steady measured and controlled level.

The priority is two-tiered – safety and fun. The child has fun being guided safely; the confidence instilled in the swimmer assures the parent or guardian and reduces the dropout rate of participants.

Exclusive benefits and support

You will have the ongoing support of the awarding organisation, Water Safety Ireland, a statutory body.

Your centre will be listed online on the official website, as an Water Safety Ireland Swim Centre.

Online with a helpline – and a person on the other side!

LoCall 1890-420.202 / [email protected]

Maximise class income – great discounts on certificates

Continuous Assessment Sheets for Water Safety Ireland’s National Swimming Programme



ORCA 11, ORCA 12, ORCA 13, ORCA 14, ORCA 15

Please address your queries to: Water Safety Ireland, The Long Walk, Galway. 091-564400, 1890-420.202. [email protected]


Information about teaching Aquatics in primary and second-level schools in Ireland. Aquatics is now a strand of the Physical Education programme in all schools. Water Safety Ireland is working to provide resources and training for teachers involved in delivering the Aquatics curriculum.

Land PAWS is land-based and focuses on water safety theory and land-based skills. PAWS introduces aquatics – water safety and swimming to children. Land PAWS can be taught in the classroom whereas PAWS is taught in water.

Yes. Preferably, they will have completed an assimilation course.

Contact the Education Development Officer [email protected] to find out if there is a course running in your area. Or fill out the PAWS Provider Award Application Form.

Land PAWS can be examined by; Primary School Teachers (or Trainees), IWS Instructors and Examiners and Swim Ireland/STA Swim Teachers once they have completed the PAWS Provider Award.
PAWS can be examined by IWS instructors and Examiners and Swim Ireland/STA Swim Teachers who have completed the PAWS Provider Award.

A complete Exam Return Form (Exam Return Form) should be sent to PAWS, Water Safety Ireland, The Long Walk, Galway. This form should include the number of certificates requires, name and address of the school and signatures of the Examiner and Teacher.

Children with special needs should receive the same award with the skills/tasks that they have completed written onto the certificate under the child’s name.

These awards are taught during the Primary Teachers’ Aquatics In-Service courses which are run nationally each July and August. They are also taught through many of the Teacher Training colleges.

Only those people who are Primary Teachers or trainee Primary Teachers can qualify with these awards.

Swimming pool management who have been providing swimming classes through Primary Schools can teach these classes using PAWS syllabus.

The syllabus is available to download online – Paws Syllabus.

No. This programme is based on the Primary Schools’ Aquatics curriculum. Teachers must be involved for PAWS to be covered.