Requirements and training

Being an RNLI lifeguard is a unique and rewarding job that puts you at the frontline of lifesaving – so there is a criteria you need to meet in order to apply.


You’ll need a National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) or equivalent to become an RNLI lifeguard. 

If you already have a beach lifeguard qualification, it needs to be equivalent to the ILS Beach Lifeguard qualification. Find out if yours is recognised on the ILS website.

If you don’t already have a NVBLQ, you can take a course to get the qualification – find your nearest one with RLSS UK, SLSGB or SLSA Wales

And if you don't currently have a recognised beach lifeguard qualification, but you'd like us to stay in touch with regards to opportunities and training, you can register your interest. You can also join our Facebook group for regular updates, as well as the opportunity to ask any questions and ‘meet’ your potential colleagues.


Even if you’ve worked as an RNLI lifeguard before, everyone needs to complete a health assessment (including an eyesight test) to ensure you are physically up to the job. Our lifeguards must be able to complete:

  • a 400m pool swim in under 7½ minutes, the first 200m of which must be completed in under 3½ minutes
  • a 25m pool swim underwater and a 25m surface swim consecutively in under 50 seconds
  • a 200m beach run in under 40 seconds.

It may sound like a big ask, but we’ll be there every step of the way to help you reach these criteria – and become the best lifesaver you can be. 

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About the role

As an RNLI lifeguard, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference to the safety of thousands of beachgoers. In 2018, our lifeguards helped over 32,000 people.

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lifeguard on the lookout at the beach
Become a lifeguard
As an RNLI lifeguard you’ll build your work – and life – experience, get good rates of pay and lifesaving skills for the career you want.
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