Unit of competency details

SISCAQU318 - Perform advanced water rescues (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISCAQU007 - Perform advanced water rescuesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. 02/Sep/2015
Supersedes SISCAQU307A - Perform advanced water rescuesReplaces but not equivalent to SISCAQU307A Perform advanced water rescues. Prerequisite unit updated. 13/Dec/2013

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 14/Dec/2013


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  05/Mar/2014 
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Modification History

The release details of this endorsed unit are in the table below. The latest information is at the top.




Replaces but not equivalent to SISCAQU307A Perform advanced water rescues.

Prerequisite unit updated.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to identify and evaluate a major aquatic emergency and perform an advanced water rescue. These situations will usually involve a team response.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to pool lifeguards in swimming pools and confined natural shallow water venues. It may also apply to those conducting water familiarisation, learn-to-swim and water safety classes in venues where a pool lifeguard is not available.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

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


HLTAID003 Provide first aid
SISCAQU202A Perform basic water rescues

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 major aquatic emergencies.

1.1. Recognise factors which contribute to major aquatic emergencies .

1.2. Recognise the signs and signals  of the aquatic emergency .

1.3. Communicate initial assessment to appropriate personnel  according to accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues , relevant legislation  and organisational policies and procedures .

1.4. Identify an appropriate emergency response  for the situation and the people involved.

1.5. Promote compliance with safety rules of aquatic facility to clients.

2. Respond to the emergency.

2.1. Activate emergency systems according to organisational policies and procedures.

2.2. Implement strategies for group control  according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

2.3. Assess the factors impacting on the advanced water rescue  and formulate a rescue plan .

2.4. Determine involvement of others  according to the nature of the emergency, relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

2.5. Determine the type of rescue required and rescue equipment  needed.

2.6. Identify hazards and appropriate action taken to prevent further injury to the casualty.

2.7. Perform an advanced water rescue in accordance with accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues.

3. Assess the casualty.

3.1. Observe and assess the condition of the casualty.

3.2. Assess vital signs and symptoms of shock according to accepted first aid procedures.

3.3. Provide appropriate treatment according to accepted first aid techniques and standards .

4. Organise further emergency care as required.

4.1. Contact emergency services as soon as possible.

4.2. Provide accurate information to emergency services to obtain the required assistance.

4.3. Monitor casualty or arrange further treatment until emergency response team assumes responsibility.

5. Record and report the incident.

5.1. Complete required documentation according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

5.2. Notify other personnel and statutory authorities of the incident as required.

Required Skills and Knowledge

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

Required skills 

  • communication skills to:
  • assert group control
  • reassure casualties and bystanders
  • provide clear and accurate information to emergency authorities
  • literacy skills to accurately complete incident documentation
  • problem-solving skills to promptly assess aquatic emergencies and formulate appropriate rescue plans
  • teamwork skills to:
  • organise staff and bystanders
  • delegate tasks to enable effective rescues
  • ability to retrieve an object from the deepest water within the aquatic environment, no greater than 3 metres; if depth is greater than 3 metres assistance may be used, e.g. fins
  • ability to complete a 25 metre swim and 25 metre tow with assisted landing in less than 1 minute and 45 seconds
  • fitness and strength level which may be demonstrated by:
  • swimming 200 metres in less than 6 minutes, or
  • ability to complete a 25 metre swim and a 25 metre tow with assisted landing in less than 1 minute and 45 seconds.

Required knowledge 

  • legislation and organisational policies and procedures that enable the safe and appropriate conduct of all activities
  • factors contributing to aquatic emergencies to enable prompt and accurate assessment of emergency situations
  • accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues to enable prompt and appropriate responses to major aquatic emergencies
  • signs and signals of people in difficulty to enable prompt recognition of emergency situations
  • first aid techniques and standards to enable provision of safe and effective response and treatment of casualties
  • types and characteristics of water rescue equipment used in advanced water rescue to enable safe and effective use
  • roles of lifeguards and other personnel during major aquatic emergencies to enable effective emergency responses.

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 ability to:

  • identify the signs and signals of a person experiencing difficulties in the water and determine possible contributing factors to enable prompt assessment and formulation of a suitable rescue plan
  • determine appropriate rescue types and participate as part of a team in rescues in the water that involve more than one casualty
  • demonstrate the use of spine-boards, spinal immobilisation collars, oxygen supplemented resuscitation and oxygen therapy on sufficient occasions to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance
  • monitor, accurately assess, treat casualties and communicate effectively with emergency services
  • report incidents accurately and notify other personnel according to relevant legislation and organisational policies and procedures.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must 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, to enable rescues to be demonstrated in the water
  • suitable participants to enable demonstration of advanced water rescue techniques
  • rescue and resuscitation equipment.

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:

  • demonstration of the performance of safe and effective advanced water rescues of multiple casualties as part of a team
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues and how they apply to safe and effective conduct of rescues
  • review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the individual.

Guidance information for assessment 

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.

Factors which contribute to major aquatic emergencies  may include:

  • swimming ability
  • deep water
  • shallow water
  • river currents
  • surf
  • strong wind
  • risk-taking behaviour.

Signs and signals  may include:

  • calling for help
  • vertical body position
  • diagonal body position
  • minimal or non-supportive leg action
  • vigorous arm movements
  • head tilted up and back, face turned to safety or help
  • submerged.

Aquatic emergency  may include:

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

Appropriate personnel  may include:

  • other rescuers
  • staff.

Accepted best practice principles of aquatic rescues  may include:

  • accepted preventative practice adopted throughout the aquatic industry to minimise safety hazards or risks to casualty, bystanders and rescuer
  • The Royal Life Saving Society Australia guidelines and code of conduct policies
  • the culture of lifesaving
  • current and past good practice demonstrated by self or peers in the same or similar situation.

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • work health and safety/occupational health and safety
  • duty of care
  • working with children.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • work health and safety/occupational health and safety
  • use and care of life saving equipment
  • communication protocols
  • safety, rescue and emergency procedures
  • incident reporting.

Emergency response  may include:

  • rescue equipment required
  • personnel involved
  • group control
  • risk management for self and others.

Strategies for group control  may include:

  • removing facility users from danger
  • giving clear direction to other staff
  • dealing effectively with caregivers or friends of person in difficulty.

Factors  may include:

  • number of casualties
  • rescue equipment
  • number and location of other staff.

Advanced water rescue  may include:

  • spine-board
  • spinal immobilisation collar
  • oxygen supplemented resuscitation
  • oxygen therapy.

Rescue plan  may include:

  • self-preservation
  • awareness of personal capabilities
  • available assistance
  • selection of rescue aids
  • nature of the area
  • priorities of rescue.

Involvement of others  may include:

  • bystanders
  • trained or untrained staff.

Rescue equipment  may include:

  • reaching aids
  • ropes
  • floatation aids
  • flippers
  • rescue tube
  • spine-board
  • spinal immobilisation collar
  • rescue board
  • oxygen resuscitation equipment.

First aid techniques and standards  may include:

  • danger, response, airway, breathing, circulation routine
  • Australian Resuscitation Council Standards.

Unit Sector(s)

Community Recreation

Competency field