Swimming Teacher’s Life Saving Award

AIM: To ensure all swimming teachers have life saving skills and a basic level of physical fitness when teaching indoors.

PREREQUISITES: Be a minimum of 16 years of age.

AWARD: Certificate.  VALIDITY: 2 years.        

DRESS: Swimsuit, shirt and trousers /tracksuit bottoms.

NOTE: Those teaching swimming in an open water environment must hold a  minimum qualification of IWS Rescue 1 or equivalent.



1.  Basic Life Support 1 (Theory and Practice).

2. Oral test:

Personal Safety.
Principles of Risk Assessment.
Hazards in swimming pools.
Principles of simple rescue.
Correct follow up procedures (EAPs).
Recognition of emergency situations.
Principles of  non-contact swimming rescues.

3. Demonstrate the following:

Voice Contact.
Use of Buoyant objects, with no line attached.
Un-weighted rope.
Ring Buoy.
Reaching Rescue.- with/without extended aid.
Wading Rescue.

4. Appropriate entry and swim 10 metres, using a head up approach, to a distressed swimmer.

Using  an appropriate aid, tow the subject 10 metres to safety. Show ability to avoid body contact at any stage during the rescue.

5. Demonstrate ability to avoid contact by a subject, using evasive actions.

6. Continuous swim:

50 metres front crawl or breaststroke.
25 metres rescue sidestroke using lower arm only.
25 metres rescue backstroke using legs only.

7.Surface dive and pick an object off the pool floor.

Show ability to turn a subject simulating unconsciousness from a prone to a supine position in shallow water. Establish if the subject is breathing. Commence resuscitation (if necessary) while walking to a safe location and demonstrate correct follow-up procedures.

Know the NOP and EAP with regard to the landing of victims in the pool(s) where you teach swimming.


1. As specified in BLS Handbook of Water Safety Ireland.

 2. As per IWS Rescue Skills Manual.

3. Demonstration of simple rescue techniques, using accident scenarios to highlight the candidate’s ability to recognise, assess and take appropriate action. Use a minimum distance of 10 metres in all methods.

4. Eye and voice contact should be maintained throughout. Remove shirt and trousers / track suit bottoms before entering the water. Subject may be told to be prone or supine.

5. As per IWS Rescue Skills Manual.

6. Good stroke technique is desirable but not essential. This item is intended to ensure  teachers have a basic level of swimming ability and fitness.

7. Depth of dive should be related to where classes are taught. 

8. Continuing BLS on poolside may be required by the examiner.

9. Practical demonstrations are not required. This is to ensure the safety of both the casualty  and the candidate during the assessment.


Continuing Professional Development (CPD): In line with the principles of CPD the following IWS courses are recommended for all swimming teachers:

BLS 2 and 3.

Rescue 1, 2 or 3.

Pool Lifeguard.

Special Needs Assistant.

Water Safety Instructor.

Primary Aquatics and Water Safety (PAWS) Provider.