National Water Safety Management Programme

The National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) is perfect for mountain leaders, youth workers, scout leaders, teachers and conservation workers working around or near water. The course is also of particular relevance to construction workers, countryside rangers, community safety wardens, dock workers, emergency services and security staff. 

The RLSS UK National Water Safety Management Programme (NWSMP) responds to the water safety needs of anyone working near, in or on water. Especially those with a supervisory capacity. The programme aims to equip you with the essential knowledge and skills to make decisions about water safety and develop personal safety skills for workers operating around water. Please note this is not an open water lifeguarding course.


Course Contents

The course is a flexible modular programme that prepares you for planning and managing activities around water. The modules build on each other, helping to equip you in your role. At the end of the course, you will understand the risk assessment process, managing risks, completing a risk assessment and developing operating procedures. You’ll also learn about environment-specific hazards and how to perform a rescue. The complete syllabus can be found here. 

Is the course accredited?

The National Water Safety Management Programme is an RLSS UK certificated award and is valid for two years. 


Level 1: Water Safety Awareness Module

The programme begins with the level 1 ‘Water Safety Awareness’ module, a 1/2 day classroom course with two hours of self-study. 

This module will teach how people drown and ways to prevent it. You’ll also develop a general awareness of generic water hazards and how to implement simple, practical control measures. You will also learn how to effect a rescue while keeping yourself safe. 

Level 2: Environment Specific Modules and Life Support Option

At level 2, three modules cover specific water environments; still water, rivers, and coastal. Each of these modules consists of a mixture of classroom and in-water training and takes 1/2 day per module. In our public courses, we include the still water and river modules. The Beach module is available separately. During each of these modules, you will enter the water, allowing you to experience the challenges of open water. 

Level 3: In-Water Rescue

The level 3 module is a 1/2 day course and builds on the previous modules’ learning and skills and puts them into a practical application. This module is for activities where it is appropriate to have an ‘in-water’ rescue capability. While you learn water rescue techniques, this is not a lifeguarding qualification. 

Course Assessment

  • Practical Assessments: During the course, you will undertake practical assessments of rescue skills. 
  • Risk Assessments: During the course, you will complete environment-specific risk assessments. You will be able to take a copy of these for your records. 

Upcoming Dates

To see our upcoming dates and to book, please use the book now button on the lower right-hand side of the screen. 

National Water Safety Management Programme

Level 1

  • Where, why and how do people drown? 
  • Effects of temperature: differences between indoor & outdoor
  • UK Drowning Statistics
  • Causes of Drowning and Drowning Prevention Model
  • Understanding Open-Water hazards
  • Physiology of drowning and associated medical conditions
  • Key legal obligations and Duty of Care
  • Principles of Risk Management
  • Operating Procedures, Emergency Action Plans and Emergency Management
  • Personal Protective Equipment and Rescue Equipment
Level 2
  • Practical Open Water Safety Management and Personal Safety
  • Challenging perceptions of water safety
  • Revision of classification of hazards
  • Development of risk assessments and appropriate control measures
  • Group activity management
  • Casualty recognition
  • Rescue principles and sequence
  • Rescue skills breakdown
  • Application of basic emergency response (land based)
Level 3
  • Principles of rescue involving towing techniques
  • Personal safety
  • Safe entries and exits
  • Approach to casualties
  • Casualty management and aftercare
  • Principles of casualty spinal injury management
  • Liaising with emergency services
  • Simulated non-contact tow of a conscious casualty in deep water (30m)
  • Simulated contact tow of an unconscious casualty in deep water (15m)
  • Underwater search
  • Application of operating procedures and emergency action plans

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