National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification


The NVBLQ is the Nationally and Internationally recognised qualification required for you to work as a beach Lifeguard.

At Atlantic Coast Lifeguards we offer you the chance to partake in one of our many courses that we run throughout Ireland, where you will learn and train to be a beach life guard.

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.

About The NVBLQ:

  • 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
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.

Pre-entry requirements for the NVBLQ:

  • Be 16 years of age
  • Must be able to meet the following basic fitness criteria:
  • Jump/dive into deep water
  • Swim 400m in a recommended time of 7mins 30 secs
  • Have surfed a number of times – does not need to be proficient on their feet but be able to paddle out back easily
  • Swim 200m continuously on their front and back
  • Run at least 400m
  • Surface dive up to 2m
  • Have had previous surf lessons before coming onto the course
  • Ability to swim side stroke or inverted breaststroke

What to bring

We will be in the sea for long periods:

  • 5/3 Wetsuit.
  • Hood/gloves are your choice, but are advised.
  • Warm clothes and waterproofs, course will be outside for long periods of time.
  • Swim togs (no board-shorts).
  • Brightly coloured Swim hat (cloth not allowed) silicone or latex only!
  • Goggles can be used in pool but not at beach.
  • Notepad and pen for theory.
  • Whistle (you must have whistle on first day, highly important) please purchase a pea less whistle and a wristband
  • Plenty of drinking water and food (we will stop for plenty of short breaks throughout the day)
  • Swim Fins can be used for certain parts of open water swim, but, only if you have been doing a lot of training with them.

The NVBLQ lifeguard qualification is delivered over six days and indepedently assessed.
Candidates who are not successful have the option to retake any section which they fail within 28 days.
Costs of the assessor and facility maybe incurred.

Beach Lifeguarding demands a range of different skills to allow for the varying conditions lifeguards may encounter.

The main duties of a Beach Life Guard are:

  • to supervise the activities and people on the beach.
  • to identify hazards and take preventative measures.
  • to endeavour to prevent accidents.
  • to provide water-safety and safe sunbathing advice.
  • to provide a point of contact for people on the beach.
  • to provide basic first aid.

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. NVBLQ 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.