Technical Updates

Technical Updates


1st Feb 2018

IWS Basic Life Support Syllabi format change - February 2018

Information for Instructors and Examiners

The IWS BLS awards have been realigned towards the Student Handbook of the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) Cardiac First Response Community Award

PHECC is the independent statutory agency with responsibility for standards, education and training in the field of pre-hospital emergency care.

IWS Instructors will see that the biggest change is the removal of complex theory across all three BLS award levels. Both international and national best practice for lay responders is about recognising cardiac arrest and starting the chain of survival with CPR and alerting Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

On average 5,000 people die each year in Ireland from an out of hospital cardiac arrest.

On average 80% 4,000 of these cardiac arrests take place at home.

The PHECC CFR Student Handbook provides all the theory that is required for BLS 1-3 and the CFR Community Award.

WSAC / Instructors should arrange that every student gets a handbook, by any possible means (but not through photocopying)

Students should be encouraged to bring the handbook home and discuss what they are learning

These Changes to the BLS Syllabi come into effect from 1st February 2018

Instructors will have 3 months up to end of April 2018 to familiarise themselves with and change over to the new BLS Awards format.

BLS Syllabus 2018 (PDF)




Rescue Commission

Recommendations to Council

  • CRBI meeting has been arranged.
  • Search and rescue- Objective & Strategic review (this is a big project and will be ongoing for some time.
  • Ring Buoy holder is been looked at by a subcommittee.

Swimming Commission

  • Any queries concerning Disability course need to be referred to Swimming commission
  • Disability swimming teacher manuals will be kept in stock
  • New logbooks will be used for all future swimming teacher courses (old logbooks to be discontinued)

Sports Commission

Great success at the European Championships.

  • 29 medals – 7 Gold, 15 Silver and 7 Bronze


  • Triathlon Ireland should contact local area who run summer weeks and winter programs.
  • Scouting Ireland and IWS is developing a lifesaving program
1st April 2015


  1. ILS position statement (lightning policy) ( LPS – 16 lightning. That IWS adopt the ILS - Lifesaving Position Statement above.
  2. Criteria for transferring from another Life Saving organisation to IWS.

    This person:          

    Should familiarise themselves with the Rules & Regulations of IWS
    Purchase IWS Instructor pack
    Must attend an assimilation course (organised and run by an IWS Examiner) 
    Must be capable of demonstrating all grips and releases as specified by IWS

  3. The Sports Commission is to develop a High Performance Squad.

  4. IWS will place a bid to Host Junior & Masters European (2019) (bidding documents available from April 2015)

  5. That a trainee Examiners course is run in Galway, commencing winter 2015 and to finish in spring 2016

  6. That IWS would nominate Mathew Sills for the Dr. Ian Mackie Medical Fellowship.

  7. IWS to establish a 3rd level Working Group who would report to the Technical Committee 

3rd Dec 2014

Sports Commission

Council agreed the following recommendations:

That an International Referees B Course is to be run in 2015 and to ask that Frans Kenis assist.
That it be clarified that Nipper board cannot be made of epoxy or carbon fibre and that soft boards or soft top/plastic bottom boards are only to be used in Nipper Competitions.
That a certificate be introduced in 2015 to compliment the current Introduction to Coaching Level 1.
Council agreed in principle that IWS can appoint an independent medical assessor when a National Team member is in question regarding their fitness to compete.  The issue is referred to the Technical Committee for rewording.  

Lifeguard/Lifesaving Commission

ILS wording changed on the ILS Equivalency table for Lifeguard awards from ‘Pool LG’ and ‘Beach LG to IWS National Pool Lifeguard Award and IWS National Beach Lifeguard Award.

Swimming Commission

To include teaching at open water venues as part of the AST award.
Develop Teaching at Open Water Venues as a separate module which can be offered as an extra to all holders of a full Swimming Teachers Awards. This will be developed and delivered by IWS.

Set up a separate Commission / sub group to further develop and market the IWS Disabilities awards. Membership of this group should include staff members of various third level ITs nationally.

8th Oct 2014

Update to BLS page Test Item 4: 

“Demonstrate effective skills to administer one operator, Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (Child and Infant)”

That the Test Item “Demonstrate effective skills to administer one operator, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (child and infant)” be added to the BLS 3 Syllabus

13th Aug 2014

That high visibility Lycra vests be introduced for open water races to make competitors easier to identify for safety purposes.  The concept will be introduced at the Open Water Nationals 2014 and to be mandatory from 2015 onwards. 

That all county teams should also wear the IWS logo.  

That in the event that a private risk assessment is requested, the base fee should be €500 which will include T&S.  

2nd April 2014

Council agreed that the CFR Community Certificate will have a fee of €15 per candidate. 

Council agreed that any aquatic amenity made available by a Local Authority to the public should be risk assessed. 

2nd Oct


Council agreed the following should become a rule of IWS Child Protection Practice:

No direct contact should be made with any child in relation to IWS business after 9pm, by text, phonw, email, social media or otherwise. In cases of genuine urgency, which should be rare, contact should be nmade via the parents.

14th Aug 2013

Council approved the proposed prerequisites for PAWS provider course candidates.

Minimum – Instructor and Assistant Swim Teacher qualification, membership of IWS, Swim Ireland or RLSS.

Desirable – In addition to the minimum, a full Swim Teacher qualification, fluency in Gaeilge and an ability to deliver the PAWS programme as Gaeilge.
12th June 2013 New age prerequisites for IWS Awards are to be made part of and introduced with the new IWS syllabus.
12th June 2013 The new BLS Examination Syllabus is to be introduced with the new IWS Syllabus.
12th June 2013 Council agreed that Examiners/Instructors who do not attend upcoming IWS seminars on Basic Life Support be excluded from examining or instructing until they have up-skilled in this area with effect from the 1/01/14.
12th June 2013 Council discussed Junior Membership and agreed the following:
A. Council approved the draft Application Form for Junior Membership with minor amendments. Junior membership can be used up to age 18. Use can begin with the winter programme starting September 2013.
B. Council approved in principle the proposed Parental Consent form for children’s classes.
12th June 2103 Delivery of the National Swimming Certificate Awards in Open Water - guidance document
10th April 2013 That IWS should publish all specialised courses on the IWS web site in advance.
10th April 2013 That the date for the WSAC seminar has been set for Sunday 28th April, 2013.
10th April 2013 An overall theme “WSAC Growth” is recommended.
10th April 2013 That a one day Instructors / Swim Tutors Seminar will be run by the Swimming Commission in line with the principles of CPD, in June 2013, at a central venue with possible access to a lake included. This will be open to all Instructors, Examiners, trainee instructors and Tutors on the IWS database. Central to the seminar will be knowledge of the “LISPA model”, now the accepted guidance philosophy for IWS. Other topics will include “Standardising Teaching” and “Use of IWS Resources”. Practical elements will be scheduled e.g. “Use of Rescue Boards” and “Use of Rescue Tubes” etc. The Chairman stated that number of participants on each course should be controlled and managed appropriately.
10th April 2013 That Tutors in collaboration with the external examiner will make the final assessment with regard to candidate assessment outcomes on all specialist awards courses.
10th April 2013 That all Inshore Rescue boats operating under IWS jurisdiction will not put to sea without a propeller guard and will ensure that the outboard engine kill cord and switch is functioning effectively.
10th April 2013 That when a new WSDO is appointed by a Local Authority and when the CEO has been notified of same he will in turn furnish the local WSAC with the relevant details of the new WSDO and vice-versa will furnish the WSDO with the relevant details of his/her local WSAC.
10th April 2013 That sight of pre requirement qualification (where applicable) must take place before a candidate can commence training on any IWS course.
10th April 2013 That an Information pack on JIT award scheme to be circulated by HQ to Garda Stations in line with recommendation from previous meeting.
10th April 2013 That a VAT inspection on CRBI Stations is not to be carried out unless there is a current yearly Annual Return of Service made from the previous year.
10th April 2013 That the cut-off date for accepting fully completed JIT applications from WSAC’s shall be the 15th of October each year.
10th April 2013 That the appeal by Mallow Search & Rescue in relation to their application for VAT inspection be turned down based on the relevant Statutory Instrument and the guidelines. The CEO is to write them to turn down the appeal.
10th April 2013 That the Chairman of the Technical Committee (of the time) be the appointed person for double checking that the selection procedure for National Lifesaving Teams was adhered to correctly. S. O’Neill is to amend the documentation.
10th April 2013 That the newly revised IWS syllabus be fully implemented from January 2014 with a lead in date from June 2013.
10th April 2013 A working group consisting of Brendan McGrath, Sharon Murphy, Martin O’Sullivan and Mary Foley (ILAM) is proposed for the development of the Swimming Pool Safety Check list.
10th April 2013 A working group will be set up to develop a standard Disabilities Awards Level 1 presentation, with specific terms of reference. Work will be done mainly by email and meetings kept to a minimum.
10th April 2013 IWS should seek equivalence of its BLG award with the ILS BLG award as soon as possible.
10th April 2013 Agree in principle to support the development of National Swim Teacher’s Award (NSTA) jointly certified by IWS and Swim Ireland.
6th February 2013 That the Trainee Risk Assessment Course be held on the weekend of March 22/23/24. Course Director is to be Martin O’Sullivan. Tutors Ronnie Horan and Martin O’Sullivan.
6th February 2013 That the Trainee Examiners Course be held on the weekend of April 20th and 21st . Aisling Cushen is to be the chief organiser. The location will be the West County Hotel or Clarion Hotel (TBA) The Course Director is Pauline Jordan. Other Tutors include Joan Morton Diarmuid O’Donnabhain Paul Murphy and Tom Doyle.
6th February 2013 The Tutor / Candidate ratio for all Assistant and Full Swim Teachers courses is to be 16:1.
6th February 2013 Include a recognised code of ethics as a pre-requisite to the Swimming Teachers Award.
3rd October 2012 Council agreed that an Examiner’s course be held in Dublin in 2013 with 50% of the places reserved for Dublin candidates. Dublin WSAC will cover the costs of the course.
3rd October 2012 That when private Lifeguard Courses are being run in a County/Area where a suitable qualified local Examiner is available, then that Examiner should carry out the examination.
3rd October 2012 IWS website that Swim certificates will be phased out by 31st of December 2012
3rd October 2012 All lifeguard training will include AED and oxygen training as extra modules in 2013
6th June 2012 Lifesaving Awards: The Prerequisite age of 16 years for the IWS Rescue 4 Award is changed to 15 years as per the Rescue 3 Award.
6th June 2012 Sport: All surf lifesaving training takes place on a lifeguarded beach. Where lifeguards are off duty a lifeguard must be present for the training session.
6th June 2012 Sport: The surf swim event is changed to a run-swim-run for Junior and Youth as this is what U19’s race in, in both the Celtic Cup and European Junior Championships.
6th June 2012 Swimming: The Swimming Teachers Safety Award can be presented by all IWS Instructors, Examiners and all Swimming Tutors who have a current BLS qualification or higher. The award, must however, be examined by an IWS Examiner
6th June 2012 Swimming: The IWS Seal, Marlin and Orca range of swimming certificates can be awarded by any fully qualified Swimming Teacher or Water Safety Instructor.


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