National Pool Lifeguarding Qualification

The National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) is the official Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) qualification required for lifeguards. It covers all elements of pool rescue techniques, lifeguarding theory, first aid and CPR. 

It’s delivered by Medway Sport’s qualified NPLQ tutors.

Course dates and prices

Upcoming course dates:

  • Monday 3 April 2023 to Friday 7 April 2023 (Good Friday)
  • Monday 29 May 2023 to Friday 2 June 2023 (Bank Holiday)
  • Monday 3 July 2023 to Friday 7 July 2023
  • Monday 10 July 2023 to Friday 14 July 2023
  • Monday 7 August 2023 to Friday 11 August 2023
  • Monday 23 October 2023 to Friday 27 October 2023.

Course location: Strood Sports Centre

Price: £300

To book a place on the NPLQ course email an upfront payment will be taken to secure your space.

Before you apply

To apply for this course, you must meet the following criteria:

  • be 16+ years of age on the date of the assessment
  • be able to jump or dive into deep water
  • be able to swim 50 metres in less than 60 seconds
  • be able to swim 100 metres continuously on front and back in deep water
  • be able to tread water for 30 seconds
  • be able to surface dive to the floor of the pool
  • be able to climb out unaided without a ladder or steps and where the pool design permits.

Course description

The NPLQ is an internationally recognised qualification by the Royal Lifesaving Society.

This qualification does not only train you to become a pool lifeguard but is often the first step into a career within the leisure industry.

You must be physical fit as the course is physically demanding. You must also be self-disciplined and have good vision and hearing.

Candidates need to attend 36 hours of training and will need 100% attendance.

NPLQ sections

The NPLQ is made up of three sections: 

Section 1: The lifeguard and the law, swimming pool supervision

  • Element 1: The lifeguard and the law
  • Element 2: Swimming pool, hazards and control measures
  • Element 3: Swimming pool supervision.

Section 2: Intervention and rescue and emergency action plans

  • Element 1: Intervention and rescue
  • Element 2: Rescue of a casualty with a suspected spinal injury
  • Element 3: Emergency action plan.

Section 3: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automated external defibrillation and first aid

  • Element 1: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Element 2: First aid
  • Element 3: Automated external defibrillation.


Assessment for the NPLQ is at the end of the course.

It determines your knowledge and understanding of the principles of working as a pool lifeguard. It also assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a work-related environment.

The assessment is split into 3 sections:

  • practical pool assessment
  • theory assessment for all 3 sections
  • practical first aid and CPR assessment.

You must complete and pass all sections and the assessment to obtain the qualification.

Once the qualification has been achieved, the NPLQ Certificate will be valid for 2 years from the date of successful completion of the course.

Read more about the NPLQ on the Royal Life Saving Society website.