In May 1945, the Water Safety Section of the Irish Red Cross Society was established. For twenty-six years, lifesaving was taught under the auspices of the Red Cross.
In 1971 the Water Safety Section of the Irish Red Cross became the Irish Water Safety Association under the auspices of the Governmental Department of Environment.
Shortly after this, the Irish Water Safety Association (IWSA) joined WLS (in 1972) and FIS (in 1973).
In 1980 the Irish Water Safety Association was established under a statutory instrument and operated independently until 1987.
From 1988 to 1999 fire, road and water safety operated under the National safety Council and it was only in 1999 that Irish Water Safety became the statutory body established to promote water safety in Ireland.