Royal Life Saving National Water Safety Management Program (RLSS NWSMP)

The NWSMP is a suite of interlinked training awards, specifically designed to assist those organisations with employees who work in, on or near water to meet their civil and statutory safety management obligations (especially where employees have supervisory responsibilities), e.g. teachers, technicians, outdoor activity instructors, countryside rangers, community safety wardens, dock workers, the emergency services.

It comprises of 3 levels, along with additional optional bolt-on modules:

  • Level 1 - Compulsory (Dry Based, i.e. candidates don’t actually get in the water). 6 hours comprising of:
    • 2 Hours Self Study – knowledge based
    • 4 Hours Guided Learning (with a teacher) – interactive sessions
  • Level 2 - (Low level water activity, e.g. rock pooling, pond dipping, etc. up to thigh height). Candidates must complete and pass Level 1 before undertaking Level 2. It is split into 3 different environments: Beach, River and Still Water 3 hours PER environment.
  • Level 3 - (In Water Rescue aimed at PROGRAMMED activities, e.g. canoeing, kayaking, relays, but NOT free swimming). Candidates must complete and pass Levels 1 and 2 before undertaking Level 3. Practiced in the water and involves being able to do a 30m contact rescue and a 15m contact tow - 2 hours.

The award currently lasts for 2 years


Optional Bolt-On Modules:

  • Aquatic Personal Protective Clothing (APPE) - Teaches how to competently use a buoyancy aid, lifejacket, wetsuit and dry suit, and to understand the PPE Regulations relating to inspection and servicing - 4 hours
  • Occupational Flood Safety - Covers a range of topics including associated hazards and risks, drowning prevention, comprehensive Water Safety Management Plans and safety measures when working near water, legal Issues and Personal Protective Equipment - 4 hours

Both awards last for 2 years.


International Technical Rescue Association - Swift Water and Flood Rescue Technician.

Level 1(Responder)

Practitioners at this level are able to provide an initial response to swiftwater and flood incidents, effect shore based or wading rescues, and be able to effect self-rescue.

Level 2 (Technician)

Practitioners at this level are able to provide a technical response to non-complex Swiftwater and flood incidents, including effecting contact and basic boat

based rescue.

Rescue 3 Course that can be facilitated

Lifejacket Competent User 1 (LJCU1)

This course is designed for people who are issued with a lifejacket and who will operate near water as part of their job function, eg construction workers, etc. As such, it is not intended that they will enter the water, and a manual or auto-inflation lifejacket is worn as PPE for accidental water entry only.

LJCU1 is not suitable for personnel tasked to attend flood events. The Lifejacket Competent User 2 (LJCU2) covers flood elements for personnel needing this capability.

Safe Working in Water (SWIW)

This course provides the knowledge and techniques for employees who need to work in or near water. It covers appropriate PPE and simple rescue techniques to allow safe rescue from water, both basic and moving, and gives simple rescue techniques that can be used to rescue co-workers.

This replaces the Co-Worker Rescue from Water (CWRW) courses. Its name shouldn’t be confused with the old Safe Working Near Water (SWNW) course, which has now been replaced by Water Awareness and Safety (WAS). For standby rescue teams and other people within industry who require a higher capability than Safe Working in Water, it is recommended that they take the Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician (SRT) course, or Basic Water Rescuer (BWR) depending on the environment they’re tasked to.

Swiftwater and Flood First Responder (SFR)

As well as being prepared to work around the water and undertake bank based and shallow water wading rescues, one of the main roles of a First Responder is to support the teams of Swiftwater Rescue Technicians at an incident. To enable this, a responder will have the ability to self rescue, skills in shallow water working, basic boat handling and basic rope work.

A First Responder will be expected to help and support in technical rescue, but will not be expected to perform them. This may include providing downstream safety cover or assistance with casualty handling. Flooding operations may include evacuation of people from properties using shallow water working skills. At a scene of major flooding, the Technicians may be in short supply and utilised for technical rescues. Therefore it is First Responders who will be used to undertake the majority of evacuations and safety provision

Rescue 3 – Swiftwater Flood Rescue Technician

Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician course complies with Defra Module 3 content requirements, and for many years has been seen as the benchmark training course for swiftwater and flood rescue teams. This training course is intended for personnel who may be required to carry out rescues in a swiftwater and flood environment, including emergency services personnel and mountain rescue teams.