RLSS Beach Lifeguard Qualification

National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification


The National Vocational Beach Lifeguard Qualification (NVBLQ) is the core qualification for anyone seeking employment on Irish Beaches.

The NVBLQ ensures that the qualified lifeguard has the knowledge and skills required to operate effectively across a range of beach environments.

NVBLQ was developed with support from the National Water Safety Forum Beach Advisory Group and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and is recognised by the RNLI as one of the main qualifications for beach lifeguarding.

The NVBLQ course is a minimum of 40 hours long followed by a practical assessment on beach theory, life support, first aid, swimming pool practical and open water practical. 

Upon qualifying with the NVBLQ, the certificate is valid for two years from the date of successful completion.

Our Courses take place in our Wild Water Adventures Center in Fenit with outdoor practicals on Locks Beach Fenit and pool practicals in the Tralee Sports Complex, Liosdara, Oakpark, Tralee, Co. Kerry, V92 HX5T.

Course Details

  • The NVBLQ is internationally recognised, so potential to work and travel
  • Work within a team
  • Great way for students to fund studies
  • Learn essential life skills, including First Aid and CPR

Every candidate attending a NVBLQ course must:


  • Be 16-years-old or over at the time of the assessment
  • Have a good level of fitness
  • Surface dive to a depth of 1.5 metres
  • Tread water for two minutes
  • Climb out of deep water unaided and without steps
  • Be competent at swimming in the sea
  • Before the course, candidates must be able to swim at least 200 metres in a pool (of recommended length 25 metres, but no less than 20 metres) in five minutes or less
  • For the assessment, candidates must be able to swim 400 metres in a pool (recommended 25 metres, but no less than 20 metres) in eight minutes or less using a continuous front stroke and showing urgency

The NVBLQ covers all elements of beach lifeguard theory, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, pool skills and open water skills. The course is physically demanding and will include swimming to set times and lifting. The NVBLQ is comprised of four modules and all must be successfully passed to attain the qualification.

  • Module 1 – Beach Lifeguarding – Knowledge and Understanding
  • Module 2 – Life Support and First Aid
  • Module 3 – Ocean Skils
  • Module 4 – Pool Skills

The NVBLQ assessment takes place at the end of the course. It determines your competence, skills and knowledge of working as a beach lifeguard and assesses your ability to apply the skills and knowledge in a beach environment.

The assessment is split into five elements:

  • Beach Lifeguard and First Aid Theory
  • Life Support and First Aid
  • First Aid Practical
  • Ocean Skills
  • Pool Skills

The NVBLQ lifeguard qualification is delivered over six days and independently assessed.
Candidates who are not successful have the option to retake any section which they fail within 28 days.
Costs of the assessor and facility maybe incurred.

Beach Lifeguards may renew their qualification only within the validity of their existing qualification. Lifeguards are recommended to engage in continuous training to ensure they are ready for duty. 

In some circumstances, candidates may be able to show evidence of prior achievement to exempt themselves from section of the course. Exceptions may apply to holders of the following awards and qualifications (guided time credits are shown in brackets):

  • Current RLSS UK National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) [12 hours]
  • Current RLSS UK Life Support 3 [3 hours]
  • Current First Aid at Work Certificate or Occupational First Aid Certificate [9 hours]

Where candidates wish to claim a training exemption, they must provide the course trainer with original qualifications prior to the start of the course.

A maximum of 12 hours accreditation for prior learning may be claimed

Up Coming Courses

We run courses twice a year, in spring and Autumn, usually Halloween and Easter.

Please enquire if you wish to book into one of our courses. 

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