The NPLQ is the most widely recognised lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland.

Candidates will learn how to safely supervise all types of swimming pool.

Candidates will also learn important CPR and First Aid skills.

RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification

How to become a pool Lifeguard?

The RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) is the most widely recognised lifeguard qualification in the UK and Ireland and is a requirement for a number of jobs from Pool Lifeguard to Centre Manager.

Pre-requisites to becoming a RLSS UK Lifeguard

New candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • MUST be at least 16 years of age prior to assessment
  • Complete a minimum of 36 contact hours of theory and practical training prior to assessment
  • Complete exercises in 'The Lifeguard' manual
  • Be able to meet the following basic fitness criteria
  • Swim 50m in less than one minute
  • Swim 100m continuously on your front then 100m on your back
  • Tread water in deep water for more than 30 seconds
  • Surface dive to the deepest part of the pool
  • Climb out of the pool unaided

Candidates should also be fluent in conversational English.

Course content

The course covers practical life-guarding skills, theory, basic first aid and resuscitation.

Training and assessment is in three sections:

  1. Section one: The lifeguard, Swimming Pool, and Supervision
  2. Section two: Intervention, Rescue, and Emergency Action Plan
  3. Section three: CPR and First Aid

Assessment will be throughout the course with a formal assessment by an external assessor on the final day of the course. The NPLQ is awarded on successful completion of all three units.

Course structure

Your days will be a mixture of practical and theoretical sessions. Assessment will be on the last day of the course via a practical and verbal exam.

Candidates who have recently taken one of the following qualifications and can supply their certification may be excused from one or more sessions:

  • Current HSE Approved First Aid at Work Certificate or Occupational First Aid Certificate
  • Current RLSS UK National Beach Lifeguard Qualification
  • Current STA NARS (PL) Qualification

Proof of validity will be required. The trainer will advise whether any exemption is permitted. We recommend all sessions are attended.

Dates & Times


5 day course

  • Monday 28 May 09:00-17:00
  • Tuesday 29 May 09:00-17:00
  • Wednesday 30 May 09:00-17:00
  • Thursday 31 May 09:00-17:00
  • Friday 1 June 09:00-17:00



University of Exeter Students £200


You can also renew your existing NPLQ qualification with us. Please note you will need to provide a copy of your twenty hours of on-going training in order to renew.

The cost is £50.00 and includes the assessment and all relevant paperwork. If you are currently employed as a lifeguard for the University then you are entitled to a discounted renewal fee.

Please contact St Luke's Sports Centre for further information on renewals and dates.

How to book

To book please call St Luke's Sports Centre on 01392 724940 or email You will need to complete the NPLQ Booking Form (click to download).