Are you qualified? 

We have a few criteria you'll need to meet to become an RNLI lifeguard:

  • You must hold a National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) or equivalent or ILS Beach/Surf Lifeguard qualification or equivalent. You can find out if your beach/surf lifeguard qualification is recognised on the ILS website.
  • You can take a health assessment (including an eyesight test) to ensure you are physically up to the job. This applies even if you've worked as an RNLI lifeguard before.
  • You can complete a 400m pool swim in under 7½ minutes, the first 200m of which must be completed in under 3½ minutes.
  • You can complete a 25m pool swim underwater and a 25m surface swim consecutively in under 50 seconds.
  • You can complete a 200m beach run in under 40 seconds.
  • You need to be of school leaving age.
  • You must be willing to provide a DBS check or national/international equivalent.

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. 

If you meet these requirements, apply today.

Working towards your qualification? Apply to be a lifeguard now

If you've started the process of applying for a course or are currently registered on a course, you can still apply for a job (there's space on the application to tell us about this). Or you can keep scrolling to find out more about getting qualified. 

Not sure how to get qualified?

You will need a National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) to become a lifeguard.

An NVBLQ provides you with an introduction to all elements of beach lifeguard theory, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, pool skills and open water skills. It’s a physically demanding course and includes swimming to set times and lifting. 

The NVBLQ is comprised of a variety of units which you must successfully pass to attain the qualification. The courses are at least 40 hours long and are followed by a practical assessment.

If you don’t already have a NVBLQ, you can take a course to get the qualification.

RNLI organised courses

The RNLI organises NBVLQ courses specifically for people who want to work as RNLI lifeguards. Here’s where and when the next courses are happening:

There are no upcoming RNLI organised courses at the moment.

No suitable courses near you?

If there are no suitable RNLI courses near you, you can do the NVBLQ with one of the following bodies: 

For applicants outside the UK:

You will need an ILS Beach/Surf Lifeguard qualification or equivalent. You can find out if your beach/surf lifeguard qualification is recognised on the ILS website.

Stay in touch

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 join our Facebook group for regular updates, as well as the opportunity to ask any questions.

Get more information

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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RNLI Lifeguard on board at sea
About the role

As an RNLI lifeguard, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference to the safety of thousands of beachgoers. In 2020, our lifeguards helped over 25,172 people.

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Find a job
Become an RNLI Lifeguard and get world-class training, good pay and the chance to work on incredible beaches.
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