Surf Life Saving Australia is the peak body for lifesavers. While lifesaving started at Bondi in 1907, the movement has now grown to a size where there are 311 clubs and 491 entities, so there is a significant organisational structure to manage activities.
The organisational structure is very much driven from the grass roots – bottom up.
The basic unit is the Patrol, this is a group of lifesavers with Bronze Medallions who are rostered to protect the beach on a day. This unit varies in size depending on the Beach, but in our area the minimum is 5 people with Bronze Medallions, one of who is a Patrol Captain, one an IRB driver, and one an IRB crew, and one who holds an advanced resuscitation certificate.
Patrols are managed by a Captain of Lifesaving who reports to a Director of Lifesaving or Club Captain. The Club Captain reports to the Board of the Club and the Club usually has a management board headed by a President.
Every year each of the 311 Clubs vote to be accredited with a Branch – in Sydney our branch is formed from 16 clubs from North Bondi to Garie called Sydney Branch – http://surflifesavingsydney.com.au/about-us/ (and a similar set of clubs form the Northern Beaches Branch – http://www.surflifesaving.net.au ).
Our Branch then affiliates with the SLS NSW organisation that represents all the Branches (and thus the 129 clubs) of NSW. https://www.surflifesaving.com.au/clubs
SLS NSW affiliates to the National SLSA body https://sls.com.au/governance/ that works on behalf of all states.
It is an important aspect of the volunteer organisations that this is a structure not driven by a central organisation, but one that clubs have chosen to be part of to work together to improve beach safety for everyone in Australia.
If you are interested in helping out in the Branch, State and National organisations you should let the president know as there are often calls for people to assist at these levels.