National Beach Lifeguard Award




To establish, a corps of dedicated and specifically trained personnel, for the patrol of our beaches.

PREREQUISITES: Minimum age 16 years on date of assessment. Rescue 2, BLS 3 recommended.

AWARD: The successful candidate will receive a laminated I.D. card, stating that they are the holder of the National Beach Lifeguard Award.

AWARD DURATION: The Pool Lifeguard Award is valid for 2 years and on expiry a revalidation course will need to be completed within a year.  If not revalidated within the year then the full Pool Lifeguard Course will need to be completed again.

DRESS:    Part A: "Land Practical" -NOP Uniform or Normal Clothing.

Part B: "Pool Practical" - Swimwear.

Part C: "Open Water Practical" - Swimwear, wet suit (optional), Fins, suitable beach footwear and swim hat.

Casualty: Swimwear and protective clothing. The Candidate will be obliged to provide a person to act as a"Victim" and to provide all items of Dress as indicated for both themselves and the Victim.



Every 2 Years



Hold a current First Aid Certificate issued by a recognised organisation, which concurs with the Health & Safety Acts.



To train and assess for competencies in: -

-Fitness, knowledge, judgement and self-discipline.

-Ability to observe and patrol a beach area.

-Abilities to render first aid and work as a team member.

-To deal with the public in a courteous and professional manner.



Not more than 6 Candidates to one Examiner.

All sections should be completed within a four-month period. PARTS A and B must be successfully completed before training commences for PART C.
If a candidate has successfully passed sections A and B but has failed section C, then they may re-take section C within 30 calendar days. However, the candidate must re-take all of PART C and the examiner must be the same examiner that originally examined PART C. Failure on the second attempt requires the candidate to repeat all sections again.


NOTE: Part C must be carried out on a beach. A beach is defined as an area of foreshore, open to the sea or ocean. Safety remains the responsibility of the Examiner and must take priority over all else and the Examiner must ensure that suitable safety back-up is provided for Part C.



Goggles cannot be used in this award.




BLS 3 and two-operator CPR (theory and practice). An approved resuscitation manikin must be used.
Complete all Worksheets from Chapter 19 of the IWS National Beach Lifeguard Manual. All worksheets must be signed off by Course Provider and Candidate and be made available for Course Examiner to check on day of exam





To assess the candidates basic fitness, and rescue skills in a controlled environment prior to assessment in open water.

Failure in this section prohibits progression to Section C.


400 metres swim consisting of 200 metres Front Crawl and 200 metres Breast Stroke

 (Time not more than 8 minutes.)

Swim 100 metres Lifesaving Side Stroke and 100 metres Inverted Breaststroke.
Swim 100 metres to a conscious casualty and tow 100 metres Fins should be used.
Swim to a conscious casualty and carry cross-chest 100 metres.
Candidate will pick up three objects from the bottom of the pool.  (Max. depth 2 metres). The objects will be 3 metres apart.
Candidates will swim 10 metres underwater, surface and take 12 seconds rest and repeat the underwater swim three times continuously with a 12 seconds rest between swims.
Demonstrate three releases (Rescue 3) and two defensive actions as specified by the Examiner. Distance 10 metres.
Show ability to cope with two interlocked subjects in deep water.
Take a Rescue Tube or Can Buoy and swim 100 metres to a floating casualty, who may be considered to be unconscious and not breathing. Demonstrate deep water supported E.A.R. and return 100 metres. Direct and land casualty with assistance from trained helpers, placing in recovery position.
Demonstrate ability to deal with a Spinal Injury Casualty as specified by the Examiner.
Any item required by the Examiner as set out in the IWS National Beach Lifeguard Manual.



Where possible, approved Rescue Dummy of 75 Kilos should be used as standard "Casualty" for this assessment.
Swim fins to be used only in test item 5.
Part B must be completed in one uninterrupted session.





Candidate will run 400 metres along the beach to waters edge carrying a Can Buoy or Rescue Tube and Fins.  Swim to a marker 100 metres from waist depth and return to shoreline within 8 minutes.
The candidate will rescue a conscious co-operative casualty 100 metres from waist deep water using a Can Buoy or Rescue Tube and Fins.
The candidate will perform a rescue on an unconscious casualty 150 metres from waist deep water, using a rescue board or rescue ski, demonstrating EAR using the equipment and returning to shore with the casualty.
The candidate will perform a rescue on a casualty 50m. from waist deep water using a cross-chest carry.  (No rescue aids to be used).
The candidate will rescue three casualties, the condition and actions of each will be unrevealed. One casualty will be 15 metres from waist deep water and the remaining two will be within their respective depths. No casualty will be more than 50 metres from the water edge. The candidate will direct and carry out the rescues with the assistance of one other candidate. On completion, the candidate will explain the reasons for the actions they took and the directions that they gave to the second candidate.
An unconscious casualty has disappeared from sight 25 metres from waist deep water. The candidate must demonstrate his/her ability to direct a second Candidate to the point where the casualty was last seen. This to be carried out with the use of the whistle, hand signals and/or flag signals and/or signal bats using approved signals as set out in the I.W.S. Lifeguard Handbook. No casualty will in fact be in the water and the Examiner will determine the point of disappearance.



At all times the candidate must demonstrate the ability to make the best use of the surf and sea conditions. In Test Item 14, the Examiner-in-charge will have the discretion to extend the time to a maximum of 15 minutes provided all candidates are informed before the commencement of the assessment.
Part C must be completed on the same day at the same location.





All revalidating candidates must provide a copy of their last Beach Lifeguard Certificate to course Provider/Examiner prior to assessment.


All IWS revalidating Beach Lifeguards must produce their CPD Log or undergo whatever training their Provider deems necessary prior to Revalidation Exam and MCQ


All Candidates from other organisations revalidating with IWS must complete the IWS National Beach Lifeguard Manual Worksheets and Revalidation Course prior to Revalidation Exam

  • Irish Water Safety,  The Long Walk,  Galway,  Ireland.
  • © 2021 Irish Water Safety
  • Web Design By