New Manikin Allows Start to Finish Lifeguard Training

From an idea came a solution

Back at the beginning of 2020, no one could have foreseen the massive impact that COVID-19 would have on communities all over the world. It has impacted daily life as no other pandemic has done before and as the world slowly gains some sense of ‘normal’ and training tentatively resumes, we are pleased to offer lifeguards the ideal solution which lets them maintain strict social distancing measures! 

The Ruth Lee Pool Rescue manikin is already transforming lifeguard training around the world. It allows a trainee to complete a simulated rescue, from start to finish, without needing to switch between different equipment and live volunteer casualties. Perfect for post-Covid training!


From deep-water recovery and towing, to assisted lifts and using a rescue board, the Pool Rescue manikin allows a trainee to learn essential skills while minimizing person-to-person contact. 

The concept of using one manikin for all elements of training originally came from a Canadian lifeguard who was frustrated with the disjointed process of training. She approached Ruth Lee, the world’s leading manufacturer of rescue training manikins, to see if they could come up with a solution. 

Ruth Lee consequently worked closely with RLSS UK (Royal Life Saving Society), consulting with them at every stage of the design to manufacture a manikin fulfills all their training requirements and create a realistic training tool. This close collaboration led to Ruth Lee being recognized by the RLSS UK as a Water Safety Partner and the manikin is now widely used across the United Kingdom. During Covid-19, it has also been endorsed by the RLSS’s accreditation body IQL for both training and assessment.

Change the way you train

One of the key benefits of using the Pool Rescue manikin in your training is that it provides your lifeguards with a close realistic experience of what it is like to retrieve and maneuver an unconscious/unresponsive body in the water. 

Unlike a plastic half torso, long used for deep-water recovery, it has arms and legs and represents the weight, size, and dimensions of an adult or youth casualty.   Once the trainee has brought this bulk to the surface, the manikin is cleverly designed to maintain a borderline buoyancy which means it will float when towed with sufficient skill and speed. It certainly shows up the weaknesses of lifeguards who need to improve their swimming and towing techniques! 

Traditionally, lifeguards would use each other to practice towing – but of course, we now want to minimize person-to-person contact in training and enforce social distance protocols in a post-COVID environment. Another benefit of using the manikin instead of a fellow trainee is that the Pool Rescue Manikin will not purposefully or inadvertently help the lifeguard!

Even when we are ‘playing dead’ in the water, to allow another trainee to tow us – we still have a survival instinct which tells us to take a nice deep lungful of air to help us float… and we might even move our arms and legs slightly to help us stay afloat too – the Pool Rescue manikin obviously won’t do this and therefore offers a much more realistic challenge. 

Approved by experts

At the AOAP Annual Conference in February 2020, US Distributors for Ruth Lee, Rescue Technology showcased the pool rescue for the first time and were overwhelmed by the positive response! 

At the conference, American Red Cross Instructor trainer, Pete DeQuincy, who is Aquatics Manager at East Bay Regional Park District in Oakland, California conducted two classes utilizing the Pool Rescue Manikins with team member Jennifer Wegener, of the Emporia Recreation Commission, Emporia, Kansas. 

Jen was so impressed with the manikin that she is now training her teams with the Pool Rescue Manikin and once she returned from the conference, she gave Rescue Technology this feedback:

“Having the opportunity to try out the manikin during the conference (AOAP) opened my eyes to how inefficient our current submersible manikin was.

I really wanted my lifeguard team to understand how different a submerged victim feels. Your manikin comes so much closer than the equipment we currently have. My team has a better understanding of the feeling of an actual victim. 

Within the last two weeks, we have already used your manikin 4 times more than the equipment that we have had for the last four years!

We are very impressed with the manikin and are truly thankful for the opportunity to have one in our facility.”

If your facility is looking for an effective way to conduct training that meets current COVID-19 social distancing requirements, you should consider the Pool Rescue Manikin. 

You can find the Pool Rescue Manikins at

RescueTECH is the exclusive US agent for Ruth Lee Co. Ltd. and maintains an extensive stock of Ruth Lee Training Manikins in our facility outside of Atlanta, GA. 

RescueTECH is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer and distributor of equipment for Technical Rescue.  Since 1982, we have supplied top quality products to Fire, Police, Industrial, and Military rescue teams. 

Contact Rescue Technology at 800.334.3368 /

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Juliene Hefter

Juliene is the Executive Director/CEO of AOAP. She has a background in running and operating diverse aquatic facilities and venues and is a national and international speaker on a variety of topics. She is also an expert witness/consultant.

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