Working for Swim Safety - Qualifications

Find out what qualifications you need to be able to join our team

We have a mixture of teams operating at any given event – each with a specific and defined role. Therefore the qualification requirements for each team differ. We do also recognise competence and experience, where no formal qualifications are held. This is generally for those joining our safety kayak teams.

For each event you can register for online, you’ll also need to select which team you wish to join. For us to be able to accept you onto a team you’ll need to hold at least one of the qualifications listed for the relevant team below or be able to demonstrate you have the equivalent experience/competence.

The lists below are not exhaustive so please get in touch if you hold an award not listed. The awards automatically accepted are issued in the UK, but we will accept equivalent awards from abroad.

Safety Kayak Team


  • Swim Event Safety Award (SESA) / Swimmer Safety & Rescue
  • Foundation/White Water Safety & Rescue
  • Any British Canoeing Coaching / Leading / Instructor / Safety qualification.
  • British Canoeing Paddle Award(s) or Personal Performance Awards.

The above qualifications are the same regardless of whether joining the kayak team in a kayak, canoe, or SUP / paddleboard.

Further info about the use of SUPs at events, can be found here.

We understand a number of experienced paddlers do not hold formal qualifications. What’s important to us is personal paddling competency, and your ability to be safe and effective out on the water. If you aren’t 100% sure, please do drop us an email to check with us first.

Safety kayakers always work within a team structure, with an experienced team leader – who’ll ensure you’re fully briefed on the role and event prior to the start.

First event joining our kayak team? Find out more here.

Bank Lifeguard
  • RLSS Beach / Pool Lifeguard
  • RLSS Open Water Lifeguard
  • SLSGB Beach Lifeguard
  • Other recognised international lifeguarding qualification

First event joining our bank lifeguard team? Find out more here.

Rescue Boats


  • RYA L2 Powerboat / Advanced Powerboat / Safety Boat
  • SLSGB IRB Helm
  • AND Swim Safety Boat Crew Training (in addition to one of the above awards)


  • SLSGB IRB Crew
  • Swim Safety Boat Crew Training AND First Aid Qualification

(Swim Safety Boat Crew Training need to be renewed annually)

First event joining our rescue boat team? Find out more here.

Water Safety Technician (Bank Based)

The list of accepted qualifications for this role is extensive. In essence, we require team members fulfilling this role to be able to perform basic water rescue (e.g. throw, reach, tow rescues) generally in contained water bodies (manmade and natural).

The below outlines some of the qualifications we accept, but is not exhaustive.

  • Any Open Water / Beach / Pool Lifeguard
  • Any British Canoeing Safety Award (covering rescues)
  • Swiftwater Rescue / DEFRA Water Rescue Technician (Module 1, 2 or 3)

First event joining our bank based water safety team? Find out more here.