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Swimming (FS120620)

(Published Jan 2017 replacing version Jan 2015)


This page provides information and guidance on the delivery of swimming sessions within Scouting. This should be read in conjunction with POR rules 9.50-9.52.

Swimming in class C waters

Those providing safety cover for a Scout swimming activity in class C waters (including swimming pools) where there are no operating guidelines in force must meet these requirements:
It may be that you have access to someone with a formal lifeguarding qualification who will act as your safety cover for the above. If this is the case they must be capable of fulfilling these guidelines. Suitable qualifications should be appropriate for the water being used i.e. pool or open, and include:

Swimming – Water activity permit holders

When providing safety cover for swimming under a water activity permit you must meet these requirements:

Swimming – Formal qualification

Those providing safety cover for swimming in B1 waters and higher using formal qualifications must have the qualifications listed in POR 9.52.

Note that those holding the Beach Unit or River Unit may provide safety cover for flat water swimming activities but those holding only the Flat Water Unit may not provide safety cover for beach or river swimming activities.

Those holding the Beach Unit may not provide safety cover for swimming in moving inland waters.

Those holding the River Unit may not provide safety cover for swimming in the sea.

Equivalent qualifications

For reference a list is provided below which covers some of the most widely available courses considered to be of equivalent or higher to the RLSS Water Safety Management Programme (as required in B1 waters and above). This is not a definitive list:

Further definitions

The following must be used when defining the type of swimming activity:

Training and qualifications

All adults in Scouting with an interest in swimming and water safety would be encouraged to take part in the RLSS Water Safety Management Programme. This programme has a variety of units ranging from a basic water safety unit through to in water rescue and environment specific units.

For further details on the RLSS WSMP go to www.scouts.org.uk/wsmp

Further information

For further information and guidance please go to


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