About IWS Courses

Learn to Swim

IWS has an extensive summer and winter programme of courses. The winter programmes are concentrated in urban areas due to the locations of facilities with the summer programmes extending to rural areas with river, lake and beachfronts.

Courses are of two distinct groups consisting of swim weeks and water safety weeks. As it suggests, swim weeks consist of instruction in swimming with water safety weeks developing skills in rescue, survival and resuscitation. The summer programme averages some 180 courses in 23 counties.


Learning to save a life can be the best investment you ever make and everyone can benefit from knowledge of simple lifesaving techniques.

With Irish Water Safety you can go a step further, we can help you develop a career in lifesaving and to find lifesaving jobs throughout the country.


IWS Pool, Beach and Inland Waterway Lifeguard courses are delivered to best international standards and are recognised by the International Lifesaving Federation. Our lifeguards have worked in almost every country in the world where lifeguards are employed. Click here for more information on Lifeguard courses in your area.

Aquatics for people with disabilities

IWS have three levels of award for people who work on a number of levels within the aquatic environment with people with disabilities. These awards are:

  • Level 1 – Aquatics Assistant for People with Disabilities.
  • Level 2 – Aquatics Teacher for People with Disabilities.
  • Level 3 - Aquatics Leader for People with Disabilities.


Water Safety Courses For Those Working Near Water

A suite of courses that are specifically designed for people employed to work in or near water. Click on the following link for the syllabus.



Equivalence Policy in Regard to IWS Qualifications

Age limits and prerequisites for the following IWS courses

Swim Awards

- Seal 1 - 5

- Marlin 6 - 10

- Orca 11 - 15


Challenge Awards 

- Challenge 1
- Challenge 2
Safety Awards
- Safety 1
- Safety 2
- Safety 3
- Safety 4
Endurance/Survival Awards
- Endurance 1
- Endurance 2
- Survival 1
- Survival 2
Rescue Awards
- Rescue 1
- Rescue 2
- Rescue 3
- Rescue 4
Basic Life Support Awards
- BLS 1
- BLS 2
- BLS 3
Specialist Awards
- National Pool Lifeguard
- National Beach lifeguard
- National Inland Open Water Lifeguard
- National Instructor
- National Assistant Swimming Teacher
- National Basic Life Support Instructor
- National Swimming Teacher
- National Examiner
- Single Engine Inflatable Rescue Boat 
- Basic introduction to water safety &
teaching swimming for Special Needs
Assistants (SNA)
- Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
- National Aquatics Pool Organiser
- National Aquatics Pool Assistant
- National Swimming Teacher Tutor
- National Surf Lifesaving Awards
- National Surf Instructor Beach Award
Schools Programme
Junior Aquatics Water Safety (JAWS)
- JAWS 1
- JAWS 2
Primary Aquatics Water Safety (PAWS)
- Land PAWS 1 – 3
- PAWS 1 – 8
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