What is a lifesaver?

Each summer over 20,000 members of SLSNSW put on the iconic red and yellow uniforms at beaches across the state. So who exactly are these heroes in red and yellow? Let's find out!

Our lifesavers are volunteers!

Across NSW more than 20,000 surf lifesavers dedicate their time each year during the peak season to make sure beach goers can enjoy the surf in safety.

Every single patrol member is trained to the highest possible standard and dedicates countless hours each weekend during the season protecting the beaches along the NSW coastline.

What do our lifesavers do?
  • ON BEACH PATROLS - every weekend our volunteer lifesavers patrol NSW beaches during the season from September to April
  • EDUCATING IN SCHOOLS - they love teaching kids about beach and ocean safety!
  • COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT- sharing their knowledge of beach and water safety through community programs
  • ACQUATIC RESCUES - if you're in trouble in the water at a patrolled beach our lifesavers will help you - remember to swim between the red and yellow flags so they can see you
  • FIRST AID and emergency care to people on the beach
“Hi! My name is Andrea, I’m 20 years old and I’m from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. I’m a patrol captain at Freshwater SLSC and have been involved in surf lifesaving since I was 5 years old. To stay safe around water, make sure you’re always swimming with a trusted adult, and if you’re at the beach always, always, ALWAYS swim between the red and yellow flags.”
I am a surf lifesaver

Meet our dedicated young nippers and learn what they do in this short video.

History of Surf Life Saving

Throughout its history, Surf Life Saving has played an integral part in the social, cultural, and lifestyle fabric of Australian society. The red and yellow flags are an important part of each summer and are universally recognised and respected as the sign that lifesavers are on duty at the beach.

Origins of Surf Life Saving
  • The origins of Surf Life Saving can be traced back to Manly Beach in September 1902 when Mr William Goche defied the current laws by bathing during the prohibited hours.
  • As surf bathing grew in popularity, its dangers just as rapidly became apparent. Small groups of experienced and regular surfers began to form themselves into lifesaving bodies to assist those who required to be rescued from an unfamiliar environment.
  • As these clubs grew in size and numbers, the need for a united front to raise funds and seek assistance from local and state government resulted in the New South Wales Surf Bathing Association being formed on 18 October 1907.
  • Although lifesaving remains the top priority for the membership Surf Life Saving it has evolved into a movement capable of offering diverse opportunities. For example lifesavers can begin their journey in Nippers, grow up to patrol beaches, volunteer in education to help train other lifesavers, serve their club in a variety of roles and compete in surf sport.
Want to know more?
Learn about becoming a nipper in NSW
Join a Surf Lifesaving Club
Learn more about the history of surf lifesaving in Australia
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