Surf Life Saving Australia is the national body for volunteer lifesavers. It is Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority.
Surf life saving officially started at Bondi in 1907. From this first surf bathing association, the movement has now grown. There are now 311 surf clubs, 160,000 surf lifesavers and 491 entities.
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. Saving lives and protecting the beaching public is their primary role. This unit varies in size depending on the Beach. At Bondi, the minimum is 5 people with Bronze Medallions. The roles are; Patrol Captain, IRB driver, IRB crew, and advanced resuscitation certificate holder.
The Captain of Lifesaving manages all patrols and reports to a Director of Lifesaving or Club Captain. The Club Captain reports to the Board of the Club. The Club usually has a management board headed by a President.
The Clubs and Branches
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 ).
Surf Life Saving NSW and Australia
Our Branch then affiliates with the Surf Life Saving Association of New South Wales (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.
Affiliated surf life saving clubs have chosen to be part of this structure to work together to improve beach safety for everyone in Australia.
Volunteer, Not for Profit and a Charity
Surf Life Saving Australia also contributed to statistics and research on coastal drowning and water safety. As the Largest volunteer organisation in Australia, it actively seeks support from government, community donations, fundraising and corporate sponsorship.
Bondi Surf Club is a charity with a Deductible Gift Recipient status – as a large community cause we appreciate any assistance people can provide with fundraising and sponsorship.
Participate in Surf Life Saving organisations
Please help out in the Branch, State and National organisations. There are often calls for people to assist at these levels. If interested, let the President know.