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Lifesaving Basics

This section gives an introduction to lifesaving, assesses swimming ability, and teaches simple rescue skills everybody can do.

Theory: Introduction

Free Lifesaving Society

Tell your class about the Free Lifesaving Society, our mission and objectives. Give out the web address of this website, so your class can read up on all the training materials without having to buy expensive books.


Show your class what equipment is used for lifesaving, where it is stored, how to handle it and and take good care of it. See the Equipment section for details.


Explain why lifesavers swim in clothes, how we are always ready to save a life, and how clothes can be used as a rescue aid. Discuss the challenges of swimming in clothes and why lack of this skill leads to drownings. Explain that clothes do not pull you down, but slow you down. Important difference.

Practice Briefing

Introduction to the pool session, the swimming ability test, pool safety rules and emergency exit procedures. You save a lot of time when going into the pool if students change into their swimming clothes before the theory lessons.

Pool Practice: Swimming Test

This test should be done fully clothed for a realistic assessment of swimming ability. Some students may be nervous about swimming in clothes for the first time. Encourage them.


For hygiene reasons always shower in your kit before each pool session.


Slip-in entry appropriate for unknown waters and stride entry.

Ready Position

Stay in one place for 3 minutes, either floating or treading water.

Eggbeater Kick

Eggbeater kick with ability to travel, change direction and height


In the water practice one forward and/or backward somersault. Then try it continuously.


These two simple survival methods are easy and fun to practice. Hold on to a float and keep all swimmers together.

lifesaving class
HELP Position
lifesaving class

Lifesaving Medley

Swim in clothes, 100 meters for each swim stroke:
  1. Breaststroke
  2. Freestyle (front crawl)
  3. Lifesaver's Backstroke (legs only)
  4. Sidekick

Endurance Challenge: Swim 100m in 4 Minutes

A timed swim fully clothed is an essential fitness skill, but may require some training to achieve. Try different outfits. Change swimming stroke for every pool length.
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