Swimming in purpose-built pools
Take a dip
Play water-tag, race, toss a ball around, swim lengths or just float on your backs and relax - swimming pools offer endless opportunities to your unit. Swimming is also great exercise for people of all abilities.
Swimming in purpose-built swimming pools covers public swimming pools, leisure centres, and private pools in gyms, hotels and resorts.
To take girls swimming, you will need to find a safe local pool with qualified lifeguard cover.
Girls do not have to be able to swim unaided as long as the appropriate swimming aids are used.
See safety regulations for more information on water safety.
Lifeguards must hold one of the following minimum lifeguard qualifications:
The ratio of lifeguards to swimmers will be given in the Normal Operating Procedure (NOP) for the pool concerned. All public pools are required to have a written NOP and Emergency Action Plan (EAP).
For structured swimming sessions (a sponsored swim, organised games, badge work etc) instructors may alternatively hold the RLSS National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches (NRASTC).
If you are providing the lifeguards at privately-hired or privately-owned pools:
- the Leader must ensure that there is a suitably qualified lifeguard as outlined above who is not included in the adult-to-girl ratios
- the lifeguard should not be in the water at the same time as the swimmers
- one lifeguard is required per 250 square metres of pool, or per 50 swimmers.
If you need more information about qualifications, ask your local Outdoor Activities Adviser or contact [email protected].
Finding a lifeguard
The Leader must:
- make sure that safety rules and alarm signals have been explained to the girls, and the need for instructions to be obeyed immediately
- follow water safety guidance and ensure that the responsible adult helpers are familiar with them.
In privately-hired pools, the Leadership Team should also:
- conform to the requirements laid down in the pool’s conditions of hire
- assume responsibility for evacuating the rest of the swimmers from the pool if the lifeguard needs to enter the water
- know how to make non-contact reaching and throwing rescues
- find out where there is a telephone that can be used in an emergency
- ensure that emergency equipment, such as rescue aids and first aid equipment, is available.
- be paired according to ability, stay in these pairs and be responsible for watching each other (the ‘buddy’ system)
- enter unheated water gradually and come out of the water if they start to get cold.
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How many adults are needed?
Use this calculator to find out the ratio of girls to adults that is required for this activity
Normal adult to child ratios apply, but there must be a minimum of two adult helpers (except for The Senior Section, for whom adult helpers are not applicable).
Guides and members of The Senior Section may go swimming without a Leader, provided:
- they have permission from their Leader
- apart from adult supervision, all other swimming regulations are adhered to.
Guides must be accompanied by a responsible adult who has been approved by the Leader. Members of The Senior Section may go swimming without an adult.