National Pool Lifeguard Courses (NPLQ)

Work as a Pool Lifeguard

The NPLQ is the Nationally and Internationally recognised qualification required for you to work as a lifeguard at a swimming pool.

At Atlantic Coast Lifeguards we offer you the chance to learn and train how to become a a fully qualified Pool Lifeguard. At the end of the course you will be assessed, and upon passing you will receive the NPLQ qualification.

About the NPLQ:

  • Excellent starting point for a career in the leisure industry
  • Opportunity for career progression, as most leisure managers start off as Pool Lifeguards
  • Varied working hours
  • Work within a team
  • The NPLQ is recognised around the world, so potential to work and travel
  • Great way for students to fund studies
  • Learn essential life skills, including First Aid and CPR
The NPLQ covers all elements of Pool Rescue Techniques, Lifeguarding Theory, First Aid and CPR. The course is physically demanding and will include swimming to set times, lifting casualties and diving to the deepest part of the swimming pool. Training and assessment for the NPLQ is in three sections and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.

The qualification covers the following topic:

The Lifeguard and the Law, Swimming pool and Supervision

  • Element 1 – The Lifeguard and the Law
  • Element 2 – Swimming Pool, Hazards and Control Measures
  • Element 3 – Swimming Pool Supervision
Intervention and Rescue and Emergency Action Plans

  • Element 1 – Intervention and Rescue
  • Element 2 – Rescue of a Casualty with a Suspected Spinal Injury
  • Element 3 – Emergency Action Plan
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, AED and First Aid

  • Element 1 – Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Element 2 – Automated External Defibrillation (AED)
  • Element 2 – First Aid
Assessment for the NPLQ takes place at the end of the course. It determines your knowledge and understanding of the principles of working as a pool lifeguard and assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a work-related environment.

The assessment is split into three sections:

  • Practical pool assessment
  • Theory Assessment – verbal question and answer session with the assessor
  • Practical First Aid & CPR assessment

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

Where particular performance criteria are shown in shaded boxes on the assessment matrix, candidates MUST meet the specific criteria set out in ‘The Lifeguard’ for the particular skill or area of knowledge. Candidates who do not meet the specific performance criteria as set out in ‘The Lifeguard’ MUST fail the whole of that section of the assessment.

When the candidate fails they must be reassessed on the whole of the relevant section or sections they were unsuccessful in.

Lifeguards may renew their qualification only within the period of validity of their existing qualification. Lifeguards must meet the following on-going training criteria before being submitted for a renewal assessment:

  • Provide written evidence of having completed a minimum 20 hours lifesaving, CPR and first aid training within the two year validity period. Ongoing training will be provided by the employer.

What will you need to do, to get the NPLQ?

  • Jump / dive into deep water.
  • Swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds.
  • Swim 50 metres continuously side-stroke.
  • Tread water for 30 seconds.
  • Surface dive to floor of the pool at the deepest part.
  • Climb out unaided without ladder / steps and where the pool design permits.

The lifeguard qualification is delivered over five days and is independently assessed.

Candidates who are not successful have the option to retake any section which they fail within 28 days – inclusive within the initial certification is a retake section at no extra charge on the assessment form. Costs of the assessor and facility maybe incurred.

Health and Safety on Courses:

Due to the nature of the course candidates will be required and be aware of the following:

To lift and move candidates from the water as part of a team – correct methods of lifting will be taught but we should be informed of any pre existing injuries prior to the course starting.

The following statement should be read to candidates at the commencement of both training courses and assessments:
“The Society does not support the use of unassisted lifting during training and assessment. You should take note that all casualty lifting carries with it an element of risk.”

Ear damage may result from diving to depths greater than 1.5 metres. All candidates must be warned of this prior to training by trainers & prior to assessments by assessors.

The following statement must be read to all candidates:

Any candidate with a history of ear trouble should not be permitted to dive without previously consulting a medical practitioner. If the minimum depth of water available is greater than the maximum depth laid down in the test conditions, the Assessor will check the candidate can execute a surface dive and swim down to the depth specified in the test conditions to recover a suspended object from the stated depth. NPLQ candidates must recover a submersible manikin.

Candidates are advised that Lifesaving, Lifeguarding and Life Support activities involve physical handling and manoeuvring of bodies. Jewellery which may cause damage must be removed on the instructions of the Trainer or Assessor.

The National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) also has widespread International recognition; significantly through the International Life Saving Federation.