What is Pool Lifesaving?

More than just a sport: Pool Lifesaving tests a lifesaver's skills in rescue, accident prevention and emergency care; teaching skills that will save lives and last a lifetime. Pool Lifesaving builds confidence, teaches teamwork, and is perfect for those who want to add an extra dimension to their swimming.

Traditionally conducted as a competition, pool lifesaving skills and activities are a great way to add variety to swimming and water safety programs for all ages, for lifeguard training and development, as part of undertaking a lifesaving award, or as a fun, challenging and interesting alternative to squads and competitive swimming.

Pool Lifesaving Events

A typical pool lifesaving competition includes up to 10 core events that involve a range of skills across swimming, rescue and emergency care. These events can easily be adapted or varied for different ages, abilities, facilities, available equipment and event formats.

Scroll down to see a description of each event, and video of the event in action:

Obstacle Swim

Usually conducted over 100m and 200m distances, a competitor swims freestyle passing under two immersed obstacles per lap.

Pool Lifesaving Competition

Pool Lifesaving events are conducted around the world as a means for lifesavers to continue to practice and develop their swimming lifesaving skills: most competitions require participants to have completed a lifesaving award to perform the core rescue skills that make up each event.


In Australia, pool lifesaving is closely aligned with the Bronze awards scheme, allowing learn-to-swim participants to continue building their swimming and lifesaving skills, staying active in the water and towards achieving the esteemed Bronze Medallion.

Internationally, pool lifesaving sport is governed by the International Life Saving Federation (ILSF) along with ocean and beach disciplines. The ILSF oversees the official rules of all lifesaving competition including the Lifesaving World Championships, held every even year. Find out more about the ILSF, lifesaving competition rules, international events and records by visiting the ILSF website:

Modified Events

Add some variety and excitement to regular swimming lessons and carnivals by trying pool lifesaving! Pool lifesaving skills and events can be modified and broken down to suit all ages, abilities and facility types, with minimal equipment required. Find out how you can incorporate pool lifesaving into your aquatic program

by browsing our participation resources, or contacting your RLS State or Territory Office.

Lifeboat challenge
Paddle and Pick up a Patient and return to shore
Swimming and Swimming Relays
5m - 50m swim events
Lifejacket Relay
Player 1 wears a lifejacket and swims to the other end of the pool (or required length). Life jacket is removed and passed to player 2. Alternatively player 2 already is wearing a life jacket ready to go. Player 2 then swims back etc.
The Line Throw
Throw an unweighted rope to a person in the water and pull them to pool side (to safety)
The Underwater Obstacles
duck diving through hoops, climbing over the big mats, etc
Kickboard Relay
Students will be required to lie on a kick board and make their way from one end of the pool to the other. The kick board must be passed on to the next team member.
The Manikin Carry
Player 1 swims the required length to player 2, affixes rescue tube and tows back to the other end, to safety.
Ping Pong Scramble
Colour Buckets- team that collects the most in allocated time get the points.
Noodle Race
Ride their noodle across the pool. Across the shallow end of the pool.
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Royal Life Saving Society - Australia

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Broadway NSW 2007

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