Belgian Life Saving Federation
The Royal Belgian Swimming and Life Saving Federation (KBZRB-FRBNS) was founded in 1902. Lifesaving was strongly incorporated in the Federation at the beginning and Belgium was even a founding member of FIS in 1910.
With the rising attention given to swimming, water polo, synchronised swimming, diving, etc, attention on lifesaving was more and more deemed to die in the KBZRB. This was the input to create independently first the Flemish/Dutch Life Saving Association (VRC) in 1985 and later the Walloon/French (LFBS) and German (DRV) associations and at last the Belgian Life Saving Federation in 1989.
The KBZRB changed its name into the Royal Belgian Swimming Federation (KBZB) and passed all responsibilities, awards and rights concerning lifesaving onto the Belgian Life Saving Federation.
The Belgian Life Saving Federation is grouping three regional federations:
- Walloon/French: Ligue Francophone Belge de Sauvetage (LFBS)
- Flemish/Dutch: Vlaamse Reddingsfederatie (RedFed)
- German: Deutschsprachige Rettungsverein (DRV)
The Belgian Federation and its regional bodies are all recognised by the Regional Ministries of Sports and by the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC).
The three regional bodies have nearly the same lifesaving education programme. They prepare children and youngsters to bronze, silver and gold awards in lifesaving, in survival swimming, in escape from sinking car tests and in resuscitation techniques. Once 17 years old, boys and girls can follow the official lifesaving courses and prepare themselves for the legally recognised pool, open water and surf/beach lifesaving certificates. When they have reached this level, they can follow different types of specialisation certificates such as pool lifeguard, beach lifeguard, rescue diver, boat rescuer, … Each year, the lifeguard must follow a refreshing course in order to maintain his lifeguard status. All educational programmes of the Federation are recognised by the three respective Regional Governments. The National Government has officially recognised the ILS certificates, which means that foreigners can work with these certificates in Belgium.
The Federation and its Regional Bodies also manage lifesaving competitions and organise championships at club, province and national level in pools and beaches. For the trainers and officials, it created four types of trainers level, namely club trainer, Trainer B, Trainer A and Top Trainer in accordance with the European Educational Standards for Coaches. For the referees, the Federation created three levels of refereeing namely club referee, national referee and international referee (according to ILS standards).
- The Federation counts over 5,000 members in over 50 clubs.
- Over 150 community swimming pools, 50 diving clubs and 70 swimming clubs are also member of it.
- The teachers are training over 1,800 lifeguards each year and are organising refreshing courses for over 6,000 lifesavers per year.
- Six people are working full-time in the Federation.