Patrol Hours

Patrol Information

The Illawarra Branch consists of 17 clubs from Helensburgh/Stanwell Park to Windang. Each of our clubs is committed to serving their community and ensuring the safety of all beach-goers during patrol hours.

For information on the individual surf clubs, please visit their respective websites. Click here for individual Club websites.

Below is detailed information on patrol requirements across the Branch.

2020/21 Pre Season Information Pack

To download your 2019/20 Pre Season Information Pack, please click here.

Patrol Hours 2020/21 Season

Weekend voluntary patrols will begin on Sunday 27th of September 2020.

Club Captain and Patrol Captain Roles

Club Captain

The Club Captain is responsible to the Club President

Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Organising and circulating patrol rosters
  • Ensuring an even spread of experience and qualifications throughout all patrols
  • Managing adherence to requirements of the Lifesaving Service Agreement and SOP’s
  • Ongoing management of service delivery standards and resolving issues as necessary
  • Coordinating the pre-season preparation of equipment, uniforms, rostering, and communication
  • Ensuring the responsible conduct of members in the Club
  • Overseeing the Gear Steward and Powercraft officer concerning lifesaving gear, ensuring it is well maintained.
  • Providing regular communication/information to Patrol Captains and members
  • Working with Chief Training Officer to address any training requirements
  • Recommending actions to the Club committee
  • Liaising with the Branch Director of Rescue Services
  • Attending Branch Board of Rescue Services meetings as required
  • Communicating with Patrol defaulters to maintain efficiency of patrols
  • Keeping a record of member re-qualifications each season
  • Keeping a record of member’s performances at patrol duties
  • Submitting regular reports to the Club Executive Committee

Knowledge and skills required:

  • SLSA Bronze Medallion
  • A good understanding of Club culture and operations
  • The ability to organise members and delegate tasks
  • Computer skills
  • Awareness of the Work Health and Safety Policy
  • The ability to maintain confidentiality on relevant matters
  • The ability to communicate effectively
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Positive and enthusiastic manner
  • Accreditation in training small groups (desirable)
Patrol Captain

The Patrol Captain is responsible to the Club Captain

It is the responsibility of the Patrol Captain to ensure that identified high risk areas along their beach are appropriately covered with Surf Life Saving services in a proactive capacity. Dependant on conditions the patrol captain is responsible for the opening and closing of flagged areas and/or beaches.

The Patrol Captain should have a hand held radio scanning channels 2 and 3 with them at all times during the patrol so they are easily contactable by their fellow patrol members and SurfCom.


  • Liaising with the previous Patrol Captain/Lifeguard to identify any issues or hazards present
  • Allocating responsibilities to team members in case of an emergency and/or rescue
  • Ensuring all lifesaving equipment is checked before duty
  • Selecting the safest area of the beach to erect the red and yellow flags
  • Ensuring the safe positioning of lifesaving equipment
  •  Designating suitable areas for surfboard riders and/or body board riders
  •  Ensuring a proper buffer zone exists between the surf craft area and the swimming area
  • Take immediate steps to report any serious breach of Surf Life Saving safety policies or any patrol deficiencies identified to the Club Captain
  •  Be aware of and abide by the Local Government Act
  •  Coordinating any search and rescue situation that may occur
  •  In the event of an incident assume command of the situation using the resources available to them and liaising with SurfCom, until the Duty Officer arrives
  •  Arranging with the Duty Officer for suitable debriefings and/or peer support for club members as required
  •  Ensuring the correct information is recorded in log books, report forms, etc
  •  Make themselves easily accessible to the general public to answer any questions

Knowledge and skills required:

  •  SLSA Bronze Medallion
  •  Silver Medallion Basic Beach Managemen
  •  Other higher SLSA awards (desirable)
  • Leadership skills
  •  Decision making skills
  •  Sound communication skills
  •  Professionalism
  •  Ability to multitask
  •  Ability to work under pressure
Patrol Requirements for Individual Clubs

Patrol Members

As part of their Lifesaving Service Agreements, all Clubs are expected to provide a minimum number of proficient Bronze Medallion qualified patrol members. Actual minimum numbers are shown in each Club’s Lifesaving Service Agreement. In addition to this qualification, there must be at least one member on each patrol with the following award/s:

• Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Certificate
• Spinal Management Certificate
• Silver Medallion IRB Driver
• IRB Crew
• Silver Medallion Basic Beach Management
• Apply (Senior) First Aid or First Aid [AID] certificate (not mandatory, but preferred)

The designated IRB Crewperson should not be the same patrol member that holds the Silver Medallion IRB Driver award.

Patrol Equipment

Following is the minimum list of equipment required for patrol purposes. Clubs are welcome to provide the patrols with extra equipment (ie a larger number of tubes, rescue boards or radios) if they choose. All equipment must be pass annual gear inspections before being used on patrol.

  • IRB (trailer optional)
  • ATV (optional)
  • Red and yellow feathered patrol flags
  • Black and white quartered surf craft boundary flags
  • Signs required for the shift
    • Swimming Not Advised
    • Surf Craft Prohibited
    • Surf Rescue Craft Training
    • Caution Bluebottles/Marine Stingers
    • Beach closed
    • IRB safety signs
    • Streets tent, poles and tent pegs
    • Signal flags x 2 (orange with blue diagonal stripe)
    • Emergency evacuation flag x 1 (red and white quartered)
    • 3 x Radios (preferably in waterproof bags)
    • Spinal board, stiff neck collars and straps
    • Oxygen resuscitation equipment
    • Defibrillator
    • First Aid kit – stocked as per SOPs
    • 2 x Rescue boards
    • 3 x Rescue tubes
    • Swim fins
    • Whistles
    • Binoculars
    • Patrol log book
    • Incident report log
    • Patrol Operations Manual

All equipment needs to be checked to ensure it is in good order prior to patrol, particularly rescue tubes and boards that can be easily damaged.

Rescue Tubes – check for splitting particularly at the ends, and check the line for fraying, especially where the knot is tied to the ring.

Rescue Boards – check for any damage, sharp edges, ensure the hand-grips are securely attached and make sure the deck is waxed.

Oxy-Vivas – check at the beginning of each patrol to ensure there is at least a half tank of oxygen and everything is in working order. The oxygen bottle should be marked with current volume and dated.

Any equipment found to be faulty needs to be removed from service and repaired/replaced

Patrol Uniforms

Minimum Uniform Requirements

The minimum requirements for the national lifesaving patrol uniform are defined as:

  • Patrol shirt – red and yellow DHL shirt as supplied by SLSA.
  • Patrol shorts – red with yellow piping as supplied by SLSA.
  • A red and yellow quartered patrol cap (not applicable for Award members)
  • Swimming costume

Recommended requirements:

  • Surf Rescue rash shirt
  • Surf Rescue wide brimmed hat or peaked cap
  • Surf Rescue waterproof patrol jackets

Members are strongly encouraged to wear a wide brimmed hat or peak cap over the patrol cap when not performing duties in the water, and a rash shirt when performing duties in the water.

Note: Patrol Caps are compulsory for all Active patrolling members that hold a proficient Bronze Medallion or Surf Rescue Certificate. They are to be worn on the head and tied under the chin. They should not be left hanging on the back of the neck.

Award members are those that do not hold a Lifesaving award (such as Bronze or SRC), but do hold another award such as Radio Operator, First Aid or Advanced Resuscitation Techniques certificates. Award members should not wear the quartered cap when patrolling.

Proficiencies for Patrolling Members

All active lifesavers are required to complete a proficiency test (also known as Skills Maintenance) to prove competency in the lifesaving award/s they hold and wish to remain current in. Proficiency tests are necessary to:

  • Ensure ongoing competency of members in their area of training and activities
  • Maintain the standards of knowledge and expertise of surf life savers
  • Satisfy legal and statutory requirements
  • Reinforce and maintain our service commitment to the bathing and beach going community

A member’s proficiency is valid until the 31st December each year, unless the award has a longer proficiency period. Any member who is NOT proficient by the 31st December, or has NOT completed the appropriate awards shall NOT be allowed to:

  • Perform patrols
  • Operate rescue craft or
  • Compete in Surf Life Saving competitions.

Note: Members who complete new awards after 1st July in any year, need not complete a proficiency until prior to 31st December the following year.

Late Proficiencies

Proficiency tests may only be conducted after 31st December with the approval of the State Director of Lifesaving. The Branch or State Director will determine who will conduct the proficiency, should it be approved. Any member completing their proficiency after 31st December each season shall be eligible to patrol but shall not be permitted to participate in any SLSA Championship competition until after the 1st May in the following year.

Proficiency/Re-accreditation shall be conducted in the following awards for them to remain current:

  • Surf Rescue Certificate
  • Bronze Medallion
  • Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Certificate
  • IRB Boat Crew
  • Silver Medallion IRB Drivers
  • Spinal Management
  • Gold Medallion
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation
  • Rescue Water Craft Operators Certificate
  • Jet Rescue Boat Crew/Driver/Skipper
  • Offshore Rescue Boat Crew/Driver/Skipper
  • Facilitators
Every 2 years:
  • Trainers, Assessors
  • Pain Management
Every 3 years:
  • Apply (Senior) First Aid or First Aid [AID] (CPR component must be updated every year)
In-Depth Proficiencies

Members who have not completed any Skills Maintenance for 3 or more years may need to retrain in some elements of their awards.  If they have not completed a Proficiency for 5 years or more, they may be required to attend a full assessment instead of a proficiency.  Members should discuss what is needed with the Chief Training Officer at their Club.