Frequently Asked Questions


Q: My team is really struggling with these skills. Is there an opportunity to gain support with up-skilling staff?

A: Contact Swimming New Zealand or AUSTSWIM Aotearoa at and respectively.


Q:  What do we do if a child can already achieve a skill? For example a competent safe slide-in entry, or dive to get a ring? 

A: Expand their skills wherever possible by setting them more challenging tasks.  For example, teach them a compact jump entry, or to dive and retrieve the lifeguard practice dummy or in deeper water.

Practice skills in different circumstances and environments, without goggles (or with blacked out goggles), with clothes on and in cold water.


Q: It’s taking too long to get every child to choose five skills to display in sequence. What can I do about this? 

A: Manage larger groups by letting children choose sequences as a group. Put together a range of scenarios on laminated cards – for example boat capsize, caught in a rip, falling into a river - then give these scenarios to groups to work on together.


Q: What do we do if we don’t have the right resources? 

A: Think outside the box and use whatever is at hand. For instance, you can simulate an aquatic environment by using strips of neoprene as seaweed, use hoses to create currents or use buckets for air pockets. Apply to local trusts for funding for lifejackets (WSNZ is happy to provide a supporting letter) or bring in a Coastguard Boating Education course. A swim school may have sets of lifejackets you can borrow.


Q: We are finding the assessment is too complex

A: It is important that we track the progress of students towards the achievement of the Water Skills for Life so we can be sure that they have the necessary skills to enjoy water safely by Year 8. We encourage school teachers to help with the assessments. The data base has been upgraded and WSNZ is constantly looking at making improvements to assessment forms (both paper and electronic) to make data entry quicker and easier. You can find some more information on assesment here. If you are having problems with the database contact WSNZ at


Q: We have been running lessons since July 2016 - how can we enter that data on the Water Skills for Life database?

A: 2016/17 is a transition year, with some providers already able to deliver Water Skills for Life and some needing time to adjust their programmes to deliver it. The database has been adjusted with the default login taking you to the Water Skills for Life database. If you are delivering Water Skills for Life, you can use this side straight away. If you have not yet transitioned to Water Skills for Life in your lessons, you can still enter data on the old Sealord Swim For Life (SSFL) site this year (contact if you do not know how to switch to the old site). 

Note that from the 2017/18 year, WSNZ will be funding only Water Skills for Life and from July 2017, the SSFL database will no longer be available for data entry (although the data will remain for historical reports).


Q: Are there some guides to the skills we can download?

Download the teachers' wall chart of skills, as well as the teacher's guide.

The children's Skills Chart can be downloaded here. This chart enables children to follow their progress with teachers ticking off or stamping each achieved skill set. When completed this chart becomes the final certificate.