Rules & Regulations

All lifesaving competition sports regulations.

  1. Lifesaving World Championships and ILS Sanctioned Competitions:
    • ILS Competition Rule Book: Technical Bulletins, Translations
    • Lifesaving World Championships Handbook: Translations
    • LWC Entry Guide Times
    • SERC Coaches, Competitors and Technical Officials Guide
    • ILS Competition Rule Book Short Course Pool Events
    • File Archive
    • Records
    • Policies
  2. World Games Rules
  3. European Championships Rules

1. Lifesaving World Championships & ILS Sanctioned Competitions

In the 2015 update of the ILS Competition Manual, the ILS Sport Commission separated content that addresses the Lifesaving World Championships (LWC) specifically from content that addresses the rules, procedures and standards for lifesaving sport competition generally.

This resulted in two new publications:
AILS Competition Rule Book
BILS LWC Championships Handbook.

AILS Competition Rule Book

The ILS Competition Rule Book governs ILS championships and ILS sanctioned competitions. As necessary before the next edition, changes to or clarifications regarding rules, standards or procedures for ILS competition are published as bulletins. The latest version will apply to all ILS World Championships and other Sanctioned events from 1 June 2023

If you have a specific question about the rules that you want answered, you can raise the issue direct with the ILS Sport Commission through this e-mail address which is being set up for use from 1 June 2023:

Technical Bulletins

From time to time the ILS will issue Technical Bulletins to clarify rules where required, or to advise of minor changes that are essential to ensure a clear understanding of specific rules. Any relevant and current Bulletins will be shown here:

BILS LWC Competition Handbook

For ILS world championships, consult the Lifesaving World Championships Competition Handbook in conjunction with the ILS Competition Rule Book and ILS Sport Commission Bulletins. A new Competition Handbook, updated to cover LWC 2024, can be found here:

Updated March Past Event Rules for the LWC 2024:

LWC 2024 Entry Guide Times

For the ILS LWC 2024 Championships the Entry Guide Times for Interclub Youth, Interclub Open and Masters Pool individual events are shown in this document.  Competitors entered in these events must be able to demonstrate that they have achieved this guide time before entering.

Translations of the ILS Competition Rulebook

Lifesaving colleagues from various countries are producing translated versions of the ILS Competition Rulebook and LWC Competition Handbook in their native language. New versions of the updated documents are due to be published in Japanese, Chinese, French and Spanish as soon as they become available.

We are pleased to make these available for download. Note that the official English version remains the source document in the need for any final arbitration of the rules. The versions below are for the Rulebook used at LWC 2022.

Chinese Language

Our colleagues in the Chinese Taipei Water Safety Association have kindly provided a Chinese translation of the ILS Competition Rulebook – version 2021.

The ILS Competition Rulebook version 2021 with the updated Section 3 Pool Events of the competition Rulebook version 2023.

Spanish Language

Our colleagues in the Equipo Profesional de Salvamento Acuatico, (EPSA) from Argentina have kindly provided a Spanish translation of the updated ILS Competition Rulebook.

Japanese Language

Our colleagues in the Japanese Lifesaving Association (JLA) have kindly provided a Japanese translation of the updated ILS Competition Rulebook.

LWC Competition Handbook

SERC Coaches, Competitors and Technical Officials Guide – January 2020

The ILS Sport Commission has provided an updated SERC guide for Coaches, Competitors and Technical Officials (revised January 2020).

ILS Competition Rule Book Short Course Pool Events 2021 Edition

The ILS Sport Commission has produced a Short Course Pool Events Addendum that modifies the standard competition rules for 25m short course swimming pools. The rules and disqualifications are described in the main ILS 2019 Competition Rule Book unless otherwise specified within the rules in the Addendum.

File Archive


Most member nations of ILS organise National Lifesaving Championships both pool and beach-surf events. Records can be set if the event organisers comply with the ILS Event Sanctioning rules.


  • ILS Swim Suit Policy: Dress of Competitors – Costumes, Dress and Style

2. World Games Rules

ILS publishes specially adapted rules for the World Games.

3. European Championships Rules

The competition rules of the European Region in ILS are very similar to the ILS Competition rules except for the elements that are typically linked to Regional conditions. The latest rulebook can also be found on the ILS-Europe website.