Advanced Lifeguard Award

Course Overview

The Advanced Lifeguard Award (ALA) is gained by completing all of the prerequisites and successfully completing a National Lifeguard School (NLS). NLS combines dynamic theory sessions with a number of intensive practical and scenario based activities. Candidates will be extended both physically and mentally and a good level of fitness is required.

If a candidate can achieve their Advanced Lifeguard Award, they are among the fittest and most capable lifeguards on the beach.  They will have demonstrated highly competent skills in all lifeguarding aspects in a patrol setting.

Course Information 


  • Current member of a SLS club
  • 18 years of age
  • Surf Lifeguard Award (refreshed)
  • Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB Driver (refreshed + minimum 20 hours logged)
  • Surf First Aid (refreshed)
  • Radio Communication Module or Marine VHF Radio Operators Certificate
  • Senior Lifeguard Award - Patrol Captain
  • Recommended: Rock Training & Rescue Module
  • Swim 800 metres sub 14 minutes
  • Run 3km in under 20 minutes
  • Club Endorsement to attend
  • Minimum 4 seasons patrolling experience

Topics Covered

  1. Leadership and team work 
  2. Advanced first aid, patient treatment and care 
  3. Crisis management and scene management 
  4. Advanced IRB skill development 
  5. Rock rescues and navigation
  6. IRB Rock rescues 
  7. Search and rescue 
  8. Patrol and and first aid scenarios  
  9. Stages of drowning and scanning

Duration: NLS 3 1/2 days

Delivered by: SLSNZ appointed instructors 

Who should complete it: Anyone interested in gaining the highest Surf Lifeguard qualification 

Candidate requirements

  • Obtain all NLS prerequisites 
  • Complete the NLS pre-learning modules 
  • Fully participate and successfully complete the NLS

National Lifeguard School 2023/2024

  • Date: 30th Nov - 3rd December 2023 
  • Venue: Waihi Beach, Coromandel 
  • Applications open: 1st September 2023
  • Applications close: 29th September 2023

Download the 800m Swim Time Form.

Click here to apply 

For further event information please check out the event flyer here

Further Information

Poppy Crouch, Member Education Coordinator
027 537 7233 |

The role of an Advanced Lifeguard 

An Advanced Lifeguard should be able to demonstrate leadership, capability and skills, specifically:

  • Cope with a variety of complex situations and scenarios
  • Demonstrate good communication and leadership skills
  • Knowledge of stakeholders and other search and rescue partner agencies
  • Attain a high standard of physical fitness and mental fortitude
  • Adaptability and ability to fulfil the role of Patrol Captain at any beach
  • Demonstrate and utilise advanced lifeguarding skills appropriately, specifically; IRB skills, rock rescues, advanced first aid & patient care & basic search and rescue skills.
  • Effective delegation and ability to use team strengths for best patient outcomes
  • An ability to draw on personal and other expert experience during times of crisis.
  • Provide professional advice to other agencies where required.

Instructor & Mentor Applications


  • To clearly outline the process and criteria to be used by SLSNZ in selecting instructors and mentors for National Lifeguard School (NLS).
  • To outline a clear and transparent selection process for members. 

Selection Criteria

To be eligible for section as an head instructor, instructor or mentor you must meet the following pre-requisites: 

Pre requistes - Instructor

  • Current member of a SLS club
  • Min 20 years of age
  • Surf Lifeguard Award (refreshed)
  • Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB   Driver (refreshed)
  • Surf First Aid (current)
  • Advanced Lifeguard Award
  • Demonstrated experience in instructing or facilitating training 
  • Have a genuine interest in developing our senior lifeguards. 
  • Head Instructor: All of the above plus minimum of 2-3 seasons as a NLS instructor.

Pre requistes - Mentor

  • Current member of a SLS club
  • Min 18 years of age
  • Surf Lifeguard Award (refreshed)
  • Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB   Driver (refreshed)
  • Surf First Aid (current)
  • Advanced Lifeguard Award
  • Have a passion for enabling people to reach their potential
  • Experience in mentoring 

General information


  • National Lifeguard School mentors act as a guide, drawing on their experience to offer advice and direction; to share alternative perspectives and insights to enable the candidate to develop their own skills to apply in the lifeguarding environment.
  • Four mentors are selected for the school to mentor a group of five selected candidates.  Mentors will be paired with select candidates to ensure the ‘right mix’ of skills and regional locations while setting up the best possible learning environment. 
  • Mentors will be expected to participate in all activities so a high level of swimming and running fitness is required. 

Desirable mentor attributes

  • Be able to develop relationships with your allocated candidates quickly and have enthusiasm to enable them to reach their potential during the school
  • Set a good example as a positive role model during all sessions
  • Be an open and an active listener for your candidates
  • Builds trust and confidence with their candidate group
  • Time management of self and able to motivate others to be timely
  • Refined observation skills to be able to provide useful feedback on candidates and the effectiveness of sessions from the perspective of a learner.
  • Remain engaged, but independent.
  • While you are there to support assigned candidates, you are not a candidate yourself and may need to leave room or step back from the session for them to connect with each other, the instructor or make their own decisions.


  • Six-Seven instructors will be selected for a minimum three season term.  The three season term came into effect for any new instructors selected for the 2020/2021 season. 
  • Instructors must mentor at least one school before instructing.  SLSNZ may on a case by case basis, consider applications from experienced instructors/facilitators who have not filled the mentor role in the past.  
  • Due to our instructor openings for 2023/2024, only one (1) new instructor will be selected. 

Section process

  • All interested instructors and mentors to complete the application form. 
  • SLSNZ checks relevant eligibility for selection and collates all applications.
  • SLSNZ selects instructors and mentors for the season.  
Applications Open:  14th August 2023
Applications Close:  31st August 2023

Further Information 

Poppy Crouch, Member Education Coordinator
027 537 7233 |