National Inland Open Water Lifeguard Award




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


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 Inland Open Water Lifeguard Award.

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 footwear and swim hat.

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



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 shore 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.

(a) All sections should be completed within a four-month period. PARTS A and B must be successfully completed before training commences for PART C.

(b) 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 section A, B and C.

NOTE: Part C must be carried out on an inland shoreline. “Shoreline” is defined as “an area of land, open to a river, lake or canal”. 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 mannequin must be used.
 Complete all Worksheets from the relevant Chapters in the IWS National Open Water 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.

3. 400 metres swim consisting of 200 metres Front Crawl and 200 metres Breast Stroke. (Time not more than 8 minutes.)

4. Swim 100 metres Lifesaving Side Stroke and 100 metres Inverted Breaststroke

5  Swim 100 metres to a conscious casualty and tow 100 metres Fins should be used.

6. Swim to a conscious casualty and carry cross-chest 100 metres.

7. Candidate will pick up three objects from the bottom of the pool. (Max. depth 2 metres). The objects will be 3 metres apart.

8. 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.

9. Demonstrate three releases and two defensive actions as specified by the Examiner. Distance 10 metres.

10. Show ability to cope with two interlocked subjects in deep water.

11. 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.

12. Demonstrate ability to deal with a Spinal Injury Casualty as specified by the Examiner.

13. Any item required by the Examiner as set out in the relevant IWS Manuals.



(a) Where possible, approved Rescue Dummy of 75 Kilos should be used as standard "Casualty" for this assessment.

(b) Swim fins to be used only in test item 5.

(c) Part B must be completed in one uninterrupted session.






14.Carrying a Can Buoy or Rescue Tube and Fins, candidate will swim to a marker 100 metres from waist depth and return to shoreline within 5 minutes.

15. The candidate will rescue a conscious co-operative casualty 100 metres from waist deep water using a Can Buoy or Rescue Tube and Fins.

16. 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.

17. The candidate will perform a rescue on a casualty 50m. from waist deep water using a cross-chest carry. (No aids to be used).

18. The candidate will rescue three casualties, the condition and actions of each will be unrevealed. One casualty will be in deep water and the remaining two will be within their respective depths. 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.

19. 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 IWS National Open Water Lifeguard Manual. No casualty will in fact be in the water and the Examiner will determine the point of disappearance.

20. Demonstrate simple rescues using:-

Ring buoy
Throw Bag line to a subject 10m from shore, with appropriate follow up.


(a) At all times the candidate must demonstrate the ability to make the best use of the inland water conditions. 

(b) Part C must be completed on the same day at the same location.




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


All IWS revalidating Open Water 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 Open Water Lifeguard Manual Worksheets and Revalidation Course prior to Revalidation Exam


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