Sport and Recreation - Draft 1

SISCAQU021 Perform complex water rescues_Draft 1

Please scroll down to review the various sections of this document. You can leave a comment by clicking on .
You can choose to be notified when someone else comments by clicking on
You can unsubscribe from notifications by clicking on

Unit application and prerequisites




Perform complex water rescues


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to complete complex water rescues in indoor or outdoor, built or natural swimming venues.  It requires the ability to assess rescue situations, determine appropriate rescue actions, and use a range of equipment and techniques to provide prompt and effective rescue responses.


Complex situations may involve multiple persons in difficulty, persons suffering a medical event in the water, injured persons, dealing with numerous hazards, or a combination of many factors. Complex rescues typically involve multiple team members working together.


This unit applies to any type of sport, fitness, aquatic or recreation organisation including commercial, not-for-profit, community and government organisations.


It has particular application to pool lifeguards but can apply to other workers who complete complex water rescues. Rescuers use discretion and judgement to manage significant problems when they arise, guided by established organisational rescue procedures.


Water rescue skills covered by this unit are required in a range of activity contexts including swimming, snorkelling and wet canyoning. White water and surf rescues are covered in outdoor recreation units coded SISORSC.


The skills in this unit must be applied in accordance with Commonwealth and State or Territory legislation, Australian standards and industry codes of practice.


No occupational licensing, certification or specific legislative requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.






Community Recreation



Elements describe the essential outcomes

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

  1. Assess the situation and determine rescue requirements for complex incidents.
    1. Identify signs and signals of persons in difficulty and assess their situation promptly.
    2. Identify hazards and promptly assess risks to self, rescuee and others.
    3. Determine appropriate rescue methods for situation, according condition of persons in need of rescue and established organisational rescue procedures.
    4. Select rescue equipment suited to emergency situation.
    5. Determine roles and responsibilities for team members according to abilities and established roles.
    6. Communicate initial assessment of situation to appropriate personnel according to time constraints and organisational emergency response procedures.
  1. Complete complex rescues.
    1. Provide clear and concise instructions to team members and conscious persons being rescued.
    2. Use tow techniques to rescue persons in water, selecting approach and contact methods to minimise risk of injury to self and rescuee.
    3. Identify and promptly respond to hazards and rescuee conditions that arise during rescue.
    4. Extract persons from water safely and efficiently, using equipment and techniques suited to rescuee condition.
    5. Monitor condition of rescued person and take required actions for a casualty, according to organisational emergency response procedures.
  1. Debrief and complete reports.
    1. Participate in incident response debrief and identify future response improvements.
    2. Complete required incident reports according to organisational procedures.


Foundation skills essential to performance in this unit, but not explicit in the performance criteria are listed here, along with a brief context statement.



Reading skills to:

  • interpret detailed familiar organisational procedures for rescues and emergency response.

Writing skills to:

  • use fundamental sentence structure to record accurate factual information about rescue responses in template incident reports.

Oral communication skills to:

  • use clear and unambiguous verbal and non-verbal communications to make intent known.

Teamwork skills to:

  • pro-actively and cooperatively work within teams to coordinate rescue logistics, solve arising problems and effect efficient rescues.

Self-management skills to:

  • critically analyse all circumstances and implications to provide a prompt and considered rescue response.


Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISCAQU007 Perform advanced water rescues


Companion Volume Implementation Guide


This section doesn't have any comments.

Performance evidence


Assessment Requirements for SISCAQU021 Perform complex water rescues


Evidence of the ability to complete tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit in the context of the job role, and:

  • participate in two simulations to assess complex water rescue circumstances, and determine appropriate rescue methods and equipment, accounting for:
    • different types of signs of a person experiencing severe difficulty in the water
    • different types of hazards
  • complete the following types of simulated water rescues:
    • retrieve a submerged object replicating a person at from greatest depth of the facility but at no greater than two metres, at the surface contact tow an unconscious casualty, and work in a team of three to safely and efficiently extract the person from the water
    • one contact tow of a conscious casualty for at least ten metres, and remove the person from the water unassisted
    • complete a 25 metre swim and 25 metre non-contact tow of a conscious casualty, with an assisted landing and work in a team of three to safely and efficiently extract the person from the water
    • work in a team of three in shallow water using extraction equipment to complete spinal immobilisation for a suspected spinal injury casualty, and safely and efficiently extract the person from the water
    • work in a team of three in deep water using extraction equipment to complete spinal immobilisation for a suspected spinal injury casualty, and safely and efficiently extract the person from the water
  • for each rescue:
    • effectively utilise rescue equipment suited to the type of rescue
    • utilise safe manual handling techniques
    • demonstrate fitness and strength throughout the rescue
  • for two of the above rescues:
    • participate in a debrief and complete an incident report.


Demonstrated knowledge required to complete the tasks outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit:

  • organisational procedures for rescues and emergency response
  • role responsibilities and boundaries for rescue personnel at different levels of seniority, including lifeguards
  • roles and responsibilities that can be allocated to team members to effectively complete complex water rescues
  • how roles may change as a complex water rescue evolves
  • factors that contribute to complexity of water rescues:
    • severe or multiple environmental hazards are present
    • multiple persons in difficulty
    • rescuees are:
      • submerged
      • unconscious
      • injured
      • suddenly ill with significant impacts
    • multiple factors are present
  • equipment and techniques used in complex water rescues, and situations indicating their choice
  • personal survival and defensive techniques used when approaching and rescuing swimmers in difficulty
  • equipment and techniques used to extract rescued persons from the water, and how choice would be impacted when the following conditions are present:
    • drowning
    • sudden unconsciousness
    • significant injury including spinal injury
    • significant bleeding
    • medical events with significant impacts
  • communication systems and protocols used in complex water rescues:
    • emergency warning and alarm systems
    • radio systems
    • calls
    • whistles
    • hand signals
    • assertive and constructive verbal communication used to direct rescuees and interact with team members
  • actions typically taken after rescue from water is completed:
    • monitoring condition of rescued person
    • provision of first aid to casualties
    • contact with emergency services to relay conditions of casualties
  • rescue debriefing and reporting requirements
  • formats and inclusions of written incident reports.


Skills can be demonstrated in:

  • a built aquatic facility with an operating indoor or outdoor pool used by members of the public. Facilities can include those operated by commercial, not-for-profit, community and government organisations.


  • a natural shallow calm-water venue with a confined swimming area.


Assessments can only be completed through simulated activities. Simulations must incorporate time critical requirements.


First aid equipment must be available to replicate industry conditions of operation:


Assessment must ensure use of:

  • interaction with individuals who act as team members and rescuees during simulated activities
  • communication equipment for emergency response
  • rescue equipment:
    • tow equipment for swimming rescues
    • extraction equipment
  • template incident reports
  • organisational procedures for rescues and emergency response.


Assessors must:

  • satisfy the Standards for Registered Training Organisations requirements for assessors, and
  • have a collective period of at least two years’ experience working in role involving water rescues, where they have applied the skills and knowledge covered in this unit of competency; the two years’ experience can incorporate full and part time experience.


Companion Volume Implementation Guide


This section doesn't have any comments.