Unit of competency details

SISCAQU202A - Perform basic water rescues (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) Replaced07/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISCAQU002 - Perform basic water rescuesUpdated to meet Standards for TRaining Packages. 02/Sep/2015
Supersedes and is equivalent to SRCAQU003B - Respond to an aquatic emergency using basic water rescue techniquesE Updated and equivalent to SRCAQU003B Respond to an aquatic emergency using basic water rescue techniques 06/Jun/2011

Training packages that include this unit

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
SIS50310 - Diploma of Outdoor RecreationDiploma of Outdoor Recreation 1-5 
SIS40313 - Certificate IV in Outdoor RecreationCertificate IV in Outdoor Recreation 1-2 
SIS40310 - Certificate IV in Outdoor RecreationCertificate IV in Outdoor Recreation 1-4 
SIS40210 - Certificate IV in FitnessCertificate IV in Fitness 3-4 
SIS40113 - Certificate IV in Community RecreationCertificate IV in Community Recreation 
SIS40110 - Certificate IV in Community RecreationCertificate IV in Community Recreation 3-4 
SIS30413 - Certificate III in Outdoor RecreationCertificate III in Outdoor Recreation 
SIS30410 - Certificate III in Outdoor RecreationCertificate III in Outdoor Recreation 1-4 
SIS30313 - Certificate III in FitnessCertificate III in Fitness 
SIS30310 - Certificate III in FitnessCertificate III in Fitness 3-4 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to identify and evaluate aquatic emergencies and respond appropriately with basic water rescues that incorporate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). These situations will usually require an individual response.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to those working in indoor or outdoor aquatic facilities, such as pool lifeguards or aquatic educators teaching water familiarisation, learn-to-swim and water safety classes in swimming pools or confined natural shallow water venues. It also applies to those instructing canyoning and snorkelling activities.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the Required Skills and Knowledge section and the Range Statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

1. Identify and evaluate aquatic emergencies.

1.1. Recognise the signs and signals  of a person in difficulty.

1.2. Assess situation to determine appropriate response  to aquatic emergency , according to accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues , relevant legislation  and organisational policies and procedures .

1.3. Identify and assess immediate hazards  and risks  to self and others .

2. Apply the principles of a basic water rescue.

2.1. Determine the type of rescue required and promptly formulate a rescue plan  according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

2.2. Access equipment  as required.

2.3. Perform basic water rescue  according to accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues.

2.4. Monitor the condition of the casualty and plan course of action.

2.5. Provide appropriate treatment  according to industry standards  and organisational policies and procedures.

3. Record and report the incident.

3.1. Record details of the incident and the action taken using appropriate forms, according to organisational policies and procedures.

3.2. Notify appropriate personnel and statutory authorities of the incident.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • problem-solving skills to:
  • identify factors leading to aquatic emergencies
  • assess and evaluate emergencies and determine the appropriate rescue technique for the situation and location
  • communication skills to:
  • alert others to the situation
  • delegate tasks during aquatic emergencies
  • provide reassurance to casualties and bystanders
  • planning and organisational skills to:
  • allocate relevant equipment under pressure to aid in rescue
  • devise a rescue plan after assessing the situation
  • monitoring and observational skills to identify aquatic emergencies requiring basic water rescues
  • swimming, defensive swimming and towing skills to perform basic swimming rescues
  • fitness and strength level to perform basic non-swimming water rescues
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques to provide an initial response to emergencies.

Required knowledge 

  • legislation, organisational policies and procedures and industry standards to enable:
  • the safe conduct of water rescues
  • accurate completion of incident documentation
  • use and location of equipment types to effect prompt rescues
  • swimming and non-swimming rescue methods to enable appropriate responses to aquatic emergencies
  • characteristics and features of water environments, such as pools or canyons, and safe rescue techniques appropriate to the conditions and location
  • communication systems used during rescues to inform managers, other employees and emergency services of progress
  • potential dangers in a range of aquatic environments and how to respond to them
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques to provide an initial response to emergencies.

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • identifies the common signs and signals of a person experiencing difficulties in the water and promptly determines possible contributing factors and formulates a suitable rescue plan
  • performs all basic water rescue techniques in the water while maintaining own safety
  • monitors condition of affected person, applies appropriate treatment
  • recognises issues that arise during rescues and makes appropriate adjustments to ensure safety of self and others, according to organisational policies and procedures and relevant legislation
  • accurately reports incidents and notifies other relevant personnel according to organisational policies and procedures.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure performance of all swimming and non-swimming basic rescues and performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • an aquatic environment appropriate to the candidate's current or intended work role, such as a swimming pool or confined natural shallow water venue
  • suitable participants to enable demonstration of water rescue techniques
  • CPR mannequins
  • equipment such as flotation devices, first aid facilities and equipment, ropes and reaching poles.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of aquatic emergency situations and basic water rescues
  • direct observation of the candidate safely participating in and demonstrating swimming and non-swimming water rescues incorporating cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • third-party reports from a supervisor detailing candidate's performance on the job.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended.

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Signs and signals  may include:

  • call for help
  • vertical body position
  • minimal or non-supportive leg action
  • vigorous arm movements
  • submerged or unconscious person.

Response  may include:

  • type of rescue
  • number of people in difficulty
  • assistance
  • leaving existing role to assist
  • promptly organising a suitable replacement
  • contacting emergency services.

Aquatic emergency  may include:

  • envenomation by aquatic animals
  • sudden unconsciousness
  • spinal injury
  • drowning
  • heart attack
  • severe bleeding
  • epileptic seizure
  • severe asthma attack.

Accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues  may include:

  • accepted preventative practice adopted throughout the aquatic industry to minimise safety hazards or risks to the casualty, bystanders and rescuer
  • guidelines and codes of conduct
  • Royal Life Saving Society Australia
  • Surf Life Saving Australia
  • national, state and territory or local government regulations and guidelines
  • the culture of lifesaving
  • current and past good practice demonstrated by self or peers in the same or similar situation.

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • occupational health and safety legislation
  • duty of care regulations
  • working with children requirements.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • use and care of lifesaving equipment
  • communication protocols
  • safety, rescue and emergency procedures
  • incident reporting.

Hazards  may include:

  • slippery surfaces around pools
  • deep or shallow water
  • currents
  • strong wind
  • risk taking behaviour.

Risks  may include:

  • imminent drowning
  • injury
  • hypothermia
  • cramps
  • choking
  • submersion or injury of rescuer.

Others  may include:

  • bystanders
  • staff
  • other facility users
  • parents
  • emergency services.

Rescue plan  may include:

  • self-preservation
  • available assistance
  • selection of rescue aids
  • number of people in difficulty
  • priorities of rescue
  • type of rescue.

Equipment  may include:

  • flotation devices
  • ropes
  • reaching poles
  • pool safety equipment.

Basic water rescue  must include:

  • non-swimming rescues:
  • reach rescue
  • rope throw rescue
  • throw a flotation aid
  • swimming rescues:
  • accompanied rescue
  • wade rescue
  • non-contact tow
  • contact tow
  • water search procedures
  • vice grip and extended arm roll-over techniques
  • defensive techniques including blocking, blocking with an aid, reverses
  • escape techniques including escape from front and rear grasps.

Treatment  may include:

  • danger, response, airway, breathing, circulation routine
  • expired air resuscitation
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • injury, illness or shock related treatment.

Industry standards  may include:

  • Australian Resuscitation Council standards
  • first aid techniques and standards.

Unit Sector(s)

Community Recreation

Competency Field


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