Welcome to the Swedish Life Saving Society

About Swedish Life Saving Society

It has been observed that the ability to swim - the first condition for the chance of saving oneself or being saved in case of risk of drowning - is very little spread among the Swedish people, especially among those, who are most exposed to this risk. Only a few persons have any knowledge of the most appropriate way of rescuing persons from drowning and of the care which is necessary for their resuscitation. To reduce this deficient capacity ought to be a duty. A general ambition to fulfill this aim will lead to the saving of many persons.

Founded in the 19th century

These suggestive words are to be found in the proclamation which was spread in thousands of copies in connection with the founding of Swedish Life Saving Society. The founding took place on the 28th of November 1898 at the Royal Castle in Stockholm. Presiding at this occasion was HRH Croun Prince Gustaf. The Swedish Life Saving Society thus celebrates its centenary in the year of 1998. As one part of the celebrations the Board of Directors has decided to publish a jubilee-book, which reflects the comprehensive and diverse activities during 100 years and which also includes some ideas about the future. 

The jubilee-book

As an introduction of the jubilee-book there is a review with a survey of the first four decades of the history of the Swedish Life Saving Society and negotiations with the Swedish Swim Promotion Society which lead to the description is divided in special sections reflecting the different activities of SLS.
In the second chapter there are articles about SLS continuous efforts during the 100 years to reach the goal - a good general ability to swim.
The essential question about the best methods and means of aquatic life-saving and resuscitation of the apparently drowned is dealt with in several articles in the chapter about life-saving.
Safety is inscribed as a word of honor in the constitution of SLS and is ruling the whole activity of the organization. The lifebuoy is an outstanding symbol for security and safety. This lifebuoy has also been used for saving more lives than any other life-saving equipment. Therefore it is natural that the logotype of SLS includes a lifebuoy.

100 years of bathing

In the chapter To swim and feel well there is a description of the development of the bathing establishments in Sweden during the 100 years. SLS as a promoter of good bathing environment and leisure-time activities connected with bathing is highlighted in this chapter.

International engagement

The engagement of SLS in the international activities has been important and fruitful for the organization. SLS played a prominent role in the work that resulted in founding a world body in the field of aquatic life-saving, the International Life Saving Federation, ILS. Regularly running conferences have secured an inter-nordic exchange of experiences in water safety. These items are described in the section about international activity.

Getting young people involved

Very early people within SLS realized the advantages connected with arranging competitions in aquatic life-saving as a way of getting young people more involved in the activities of SLS. In the chapter about life-saving sports the contents and formation of the competitions are described and also the most important events, in which SLS have taken part.
In the end of the jubilee-book there is a study about the future and a description of the most successful projects during the 1990's, namely The Children's Life Saving School, Self Protection - Water Safety and The Beach. As a conclusion the long-time planning, SLS in the 2000’s is included.

SLS has acted successfully during the first 100 years of its existence. Now we are looking forward to the next 100 years and we hope that those years also will be productive and prosperous.

SLS swim school

To the parents of the pupils

The swim schools of today are different to when you learnt to swim: children now learn much more than just swimming. Swim school is now synonymous with water safety.

The first skill your child will learn is water confidence. The skills associated with water confidence are keeping balance, orientation and floating in the water. Only once these skills have been learned is swimming taught.

At swim school, children learn how to behave in the water, ride a boat and go out on the ice. We call this Swimming, Boat and Ice safety.

The children learn to wear a lifejacket at all times when they are on the pier, fishing for crabs, riding a boat, etc.

In case of accidents and the child ends up in the water they must keep still in a huddled position and wait for help. That is why we have no clothed swimming at swim school.

There is currently no underwater swimming at swim school. Modern research has shown that underwater swimming can be dangerous.

The children also learn how to help a person in distress in the water. They learn to throw a lifebuoy to the person in distress and not to jump in themselves unless they have something between them and the person in distress. This is called the 
'the extended arm'.

The children learn how to make a 112 emergency call.

Learning how to be Sun smart is also an important skill that the children learn at swim school.

Each new skill is awarded with a certificate at swim school. Learning starts with water confidence exercises for beginners. Then the skills level increases with breaststroke, backstroke and lifesaving exercises for parents to feel completely safe when their children are out swimming.

In 5th grade at school, all children must know how to swim and be able to manage emergency situations in or around water. SLS has developed the Bronsboj (bronze buoy) in collaboration with the National Education Agency to clarify the curriculum requirements.

Welcome to the swim school!

Swimming and boat safety

Swimming safety

Never swim alone.

Swim alongside the beach.

Never jump or dive into unknown water.

Never push or hold someone under water.

Only cry for help if you need it.

Never swim under jetties or jumping posts.

Avoid the sun’s strongest rays in the middle of the day.

Always have something between yourself and the person in distress: 'the extended arm'. 

Always let people know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Do not play with life saving equipment.

Test your swimming proficiency… 


Boat safety 

Always sit in the boat and position yourself so that it keeps steady.

Only swap places in the boat if absolutely necessary and only one at a time.

Always have something between yourself and the person in distress: 'the extended arm'.

Only cry for help if you need it.

Make sure there are bailers, anchors, lifelines, spare oars or paddles in the boat.

Always use a life jacket in the boat.

Do not have more people in the boat that it can accommodate.

Stay near the boat if you fall in the water.

If you are saving a person in distress, bring them in at the stern of the boat.

Wave both your arms slowly over your head and to the side if you need help.

Always let people know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Always use a life jacket

Ice safety 

Never go out onto the ice alone.

Always have safety spikes and other safety equipment with you on the ice.

Always test the ice with an ice-pick if you are unsure.

Never go out onto the ice if you are unsure whether it will hold. The ice must be at least 10cm thick.

Remember that new ice, spring ice, snow-covered ice and sea ice can be weak.

Learn where the ice is at its weakest: reeds, channels, jetties, bridges, headlands, drains, outlets, inlets, sounds, shallows and water-holes.

Always have something between yourself and the person in distress: 'the extended arm'.

Never leave children alone close to or on the ice.

Always let people know where you are going and when you expect to return.

The faster you go, the further out you will end up on the weak ice before it breaks and therefore the harder it will be to save you.



It is important to know about the different kinds of ice and their resistance.

Ice does not look the same everywhere.

Find out about the ice's weak points.

This is a skill you should read about and discuss with people who have more experience of ice.



It is important to have the right equipment for going out onto the ice.

Here are some of the things you need to take with you: safety spikes, ice-pick, lifeline and flotation device.



You must always have at least one accompanying adult when going out onto the ice (with a lifeline). Getting out of the hole in the ice using only safety spikes is not guaranteed.

Test your ice safety…


You must have safety equipment to keep safe on the ice:

-safety spikes



-flotation device