Sport and Recreation - Draft 2

SISCAQU020 Perform water rescues_Draft 2

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Unit application and prerequisites




Perform water rescues


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to complete 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.


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


It applies to any worker who may be required to complete water rescues, including pool lifeguards, swim teachers, aqua exercise instructors, outdoor recreation leaders and others. Rescuers use discretion and judgement to manage problems when they arise, guided by established organisational rescue procedures.

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.
    1. Identify signs and signals of person 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 person in need of rescue and established organisational rescue procedures.
    4. Select rescue equipment suited to emergency situation.
    5. Provide prompt rescue alert to appropriate personnel according to time constraints and organisational emergency response procedures.
  1. Rescue a person from water.
    1. Provide clear and concise instructions to person being rescued, when conscious.
    2. Rescue person in water using reach equipment and techniques, when indicated.
    3. Utilise throw equipment and techniques to rescue person in water, when indicated.
    4. Use tow techniques to rescue person in water, when indicated, selecting approach and contact methods to minimise risk of injury to self.
    5. Identify and promptly respond to hazards and rescuee conditions that arise during rescue.
    6. Remove person from water safely and efficiently, engaging assistance when available and required.
    7. Assist rescued person 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.

Self-management skills to:

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


Supersedes and is not equivalent to SISCAQU002 Perform basic water rescues


Companion Volume Implementation Guide


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Performance evidence


Assessment Requirements for SISCAQU020 Perform 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:


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

  • organisational procedures for rescues and emergency response
  • common active and passive signs and signals of a person experiencing difficulty in the water, and how these would indicate their swimming abilities, condition and rescue needs:
    • signals and call for help
    • uncontrolled and irregular swimming
    • vertical body position
    • inadequate leg action to sustain head position above the water
    • passive distress behaviours
    • partially or fully submerged person
    • unconscious person
  • importance of promptly alerting others to rescue, and:
  • hazards associated with water rescues, risks to self and person being rescued, and methods used to minimise risk:
    • environmental for different aquatic environments
    • panic actions of distressed swimmers during rescue
    • crowded swimming area and actions of other swimmers and bystanders
  • equipment and techniques used in water rescues, and situations indicating their choice:
    • non-swimming:
      • reach
      • throw
    • swimming to reach and  person in the water:
      • wading and swimming techniques used to reach and rescue
      • non-contact tow
      • contact tow
  • safe manual handling techniques used to remove rescued persons from the water, both unassisted and assisted by others
  • assertive and constructive verbal communication techniques used during rescues to:
    • direct person being rescued
    • calm and reassure person being rescued
  • 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:


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 a 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


Assessor requirements

"Placing a length of employment figure (2 years in this case) on Assessor requirements is not an ideal solution to ensuring quality training delivery and industry relevance - the RTO Standards outline the requirements for vocational competence and each RTO must ensure their Assessors meet these requirements."

Miriam Scherer 17.06.2022 05.38PM

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Two years experience working

"SISCAQU020 is basic water rescue - equivalent to the Royal Life Saving Bronze Medallion or Surf life saving Bronze normally obtained by community members, teachers or as a prerequisite to the pool lifeguard. By having the two years experience as specified this is reducing the capacity of trainers and assessors to those that are pool lifeguard qualified and has two years working experience. To confirm trainers and assessors have current industry skills, and all training and assessment is delivered by people who are themselves competent practitioners, your RTO should ideally ensure that trainers and assessors are regularly exposed to industry workplaces and participate in workplace tasks. Trainers and assessors need to show how they have maintained, upgraded or developed new skills relevant to current industry needs. Evidence showing trainers’ and assessors’ industry skills can take many forms. Currency in skills will depend on the industry area. Some examples of how trainers and assessors can demonstrate current industry skills include: volunteering or working part-time in the industry area undertaking accredited training relevant to the industry area belonging to industry associations engaging with industry (for example, through discussions with employers or attending industry networking events) reading industry journals and subscriptions staying informed about changes to technology keeping up to date with changes to legislation. Delivering training and assessment in a workplace does not constitute the development of current industry skills. However, attending a workplace to experience the latest techniques, processes and resources could contribute to the demonstration of current industry skills."

Rebecca Gawne 14.06.2022 12.15PM

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