​Date of last update: August 04, 2021

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications - PROFESSION OF LIFEGUARD

EU and third country nationals who hold a professional qualification obtained abroad and who intend to work in Italy can find the information, forms and legislative references necessary for recognising qualifications required to pursue these professions in this section.

The recognition of professional qualifications obtained abroad is governed by Legislative Decree No 206 of 9 November 2007 implementing Directive 2005/36/EC, amended by Directive 2013/55/EU.

The aforesaid Legislative Decree, as amended by Article 5(I)(quater) of Legislative Decree No 15 of 28 January 2016, identifies the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as the competent authority for the professions of teacher, driving school instructor and lifeguard.

The profession

A lifeguard's role is to safeguard swimmers at sea and/or in swimming areas, in hazardous situations.

They perform a necessary public service and are directly and personally responsible for their work under obligations set out in the provisions in force.

In order to obtain the qualification, lifeguards must pass a theory and practical assessment and demonstrate possession of specific skills, namely: swimming skills and swimming techniques for lifesaving, first-aid and basic life support, rowing skills, knowledge of the lifeguard's role and responsibilities, knowledge of current swimming safety regulations, notions of seamanship and weather, anatomy and physiology of the respiratory and cardiovascular system, etc.


To work as a lifeguard, you need to gain a "brevetto di assistente bagnante" (lifeguard qualification) after passing a special theory and practical assessment. This qualification allows you to pursue the profession.

In order to take the assessment, you will have to attend a course based on procedures established by authorised training bodies:

The courses are aimed at people over 16 who have excellent swimming skills.

The role of lifeguard is currently subject to review and verification by the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility – General Command of the Port Authorities – Coast Guard, in order to uphold a high level of vocational quality.

Origin of the professionI

In 1918, the Ministry of Maritime and Railway Transport issued a Circular requiring the Port Authorities of the Kingdom of Italy to oblige all staff working in swimming establishments to prove their ability to swim and carry out first-aid and artificial respiration.

The State Administration consulted the National Rescue Society of Italy – SNS, which, after a preparatory course and aptitude test, issued a Soccorritore di Spiaggia (Beach Rescue Attendant) qualification, which was the forerunner of the Brevetto di Assistente Bagnante (Lifeguard Qualification).

The Merchant Navy Ministry of Communications issued Order No 43 of 6 May 1929 granting the National Rescue Society of Italy authorisation to issue a "certificato di abilitazione all'esercizio del mestiere di bagnino" (certificate granting the right to work as a lifeguard).

Nowadays this qualification is also issued by the FIN,  Italian Swimming Federation – Lifesaving Section, under Merchant Navy Ministry Circular No 35 dated 9 September 1960 as well as the Italian Federation of Aquatic Rescue FISA, through an authorising provision set out in a document issued by the General Command of the Port Authorities – Coastguard, under Ref. 20847 dated 4 March 2010.


This activity is currently regulated only through administrative channels.

In 2011, the lawmaker established in the 'Milleproroghe' (thousand-extension) decree-law for 2011' that 'In order to guarantee and protect the safety and ensure the safeguarding of human life in water, until the issue, by no later than 30 June 2014, of the regulation governing training courses for lifeguards, to be adopted by Decree of the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, any permits for delivering training activities and awarding qualifications for carrying out lifeguard activities issued by 31 December 2011 shall be extended'.

Article 7(6) of Decree-Law N. 210 of 30 December 2015, which extends the time limits laid down by legal provisions that are expected to be converted into law within 60 days, further deferred the time-limit for issuing the regulations governing water rescue to 31 July 2016.

The relevant legal framework for this profession changed in 2016, following the issue of Ministerial Decree N. 206 of 29 July 2016 (Italian Official Gazette No 269 of 17 November 2016). This introduced a general regulation aimed at identifying the bodies entitled to deliver rescue training, issue the relevant qualifications, establish minimum requirements applicable throughout Italy, introduce standard rescue regulations for marine waters, inland waters and swimming pools and assign supervisory tasks to the State Administration.

Ministerial Decree N. 206 of 29 July 2016 has not yet entered into force because it is the subject of various extension measures (the most recent, Law No 73 of 24 July 2019 set the time limit for the entry into force of the above Decree at 31 October 2020).

For the above reasons, the procedures described in the 'ENTRY REQUIREMENTS' section remain in force for entering the profession of lifeguard.

Recognition of vocational qualifications/certificates.

Because Ministerial Decree N. 206 of 29 July 2016 (Italian Official Gazette No 269 of 17 November 2016) has not yet entered into force, the rules on recognising the above qualifications when they are obtained abroad have not yet been defined. Lifeguard qualifications are issued directly by authorised bodies and not by the State Competent Authority:

-SNS – National Rescue Society of Italy;

- FIN–Italian Swimming Federation–Lifesaving Section;

-FISA – Italian Federation of Aquatic Rescue.



Stable profession information
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Temporary profession informartion 
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Transmission of the forms by post 
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Prior declaration 
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Trasmission of the forms by by electronic means
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Competent Autority:

Recognition of foreign professional qualifications

(D.lgs. 9 novembre 2007, n. 206 di attuazione della direttiva 2005/36/CE sul riconoscimento delle qualifiche professionali)

Ministero delle Infrastrutture e della mobilità sostenibili - Comando Generale del Corpo delle Capitanerie di Porto – Guardia Costiera / Reparto II

Viale dell'Arte 16, 00144 Roma (RM)

Tel. 06.5908.1

e-mail: segreteria.reparto2@mit.gov.it – PEC: cgcp@pec.mit.gov.it ;