About Surf Lifesavers and Lifeguards

Surf lifesavers are trained volunteers who patrol our beaches on weekends and public holidays during the peak school holiday and summer season (September – May). In comparison, lifeguards are paid professionals who provide beach safety services to local government or other land managers (such as resorts, lagoons or amusement park operators). Generally speaking, lifeguards patrol seven days a week, however, this depends on location. For further information about SLSQ’s lifeguards, please visit http://lifesaving.com.au/australian-lifeguard-service

The first step is to contact your local surf club and find out more about the club and what courses they are offering. The Bronze Medallion is the minimum requirement for a fully qualified active surf lifesaver. To obtain this award you must be over the age of 15 and demonstrate proficiency in surf awareness, survival, patrol and rescue procedures, emergency care plus anatomy and physiology. For further information about getting involved, please visit http://lifesaving.com.au/membership/get-involved

If you love helping people, like an outdoor life and have strong surf rescue and resuscitation skills, then becoming a lifeguard could be for you. Lifeguards must hold a minimum of a nationally recognised senior first aid, Advanced Resuscitation and Bronze Medallion (or equivalent) and complete a minimum fitness requirement. Visit our employment opportunities page for more information.

All qualified surf lifesavers wear the internationally recognised safety colours of red and yellow, making our members highly visible and easily accessible to provide advice and assistance to the bathing public. The patrol uniform comprises of a long sleeved shirt, red shorts, swimming costume and the distinctive red and yellow quartered cap.

Absolutely! Anyone can join the surf lifesaving movement, and there are still plenty of positions that won’t require you to get your toes wet. You could be a coach, official, fundraiser, committee member, a radio operator and the list goes on. As long as you have a positive attitude, you’ve got what it takes! For further information about joining SLSQ, please visit http://lifesaving.com.au/membership/get-involved.

There are 58 surf life saving clubs across Queensland, from Port Douglas in North Queensland down to Rainbow Bay on the southern Gold Coast. To find your local club, please visit http://www.lifesaving.com.au/clubs

Of course! Anyone can join a surf life saving club. There are more than 20 surf clubs located across South East Queensland, on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts as well as Bribie Island, Redcliffe, Point Lookout on Stradbroke Island and Coochiemudlo Island.

Alternatively, SLSQ’s Brisbane Lifesaving Service has been developed to provide Brisbane residents with a unique opportunity to obtain the key lifesaving skills required to patrol one of south-east Queensland’s beaches.

BLS members are trained in a variety of core lifesaving skills including surf awareness, first aid and resuscitation while working towards the completion of a nationally-recognised Bronze Medallion qualification. Theory is taught in South Brisbane with members travelling to the Gold or Sunshine Coast for practical training in the surf.

For further information about BLS, please visit http://lifesaving.com.au/bls

Beach Safety

If you are on the beach and want more information, ask the nearest surf lifesaver or lifeguard. If you’re at home, school or work, please visit our Education and Resources section or visit http://www.beachsafe.org.au

To find your nearest patrolled beach, visit http://www.beachsafe.org.au . Please note that patrol times and locations vary from beach to beach. SLSQ strongly encourages all beachgoers to only swim at patrolled locations and between the red and yellow flags.

RED & YELLOW: Always swim between the red & yellow flags
RED: No swimming
YELLOW: Caution required. Potential hazards
RED & WHITE: Evacuate the water
BLACK & WHITE: Surfcraft riding area boundary

Click the image below to enlarge and read about the beach flags.



The flags mark the area patrolled by surf lifesavers and lifeguards. They mark the safest place to swim at the beach, because if the surf lifesavers or lifeguards can’t see you – they can’t save you. For more information on beach safety, visit our Beach Safety page here.

If you’re swimming at the beach and find yourself being taken swept away from the shore, chances are you are caught in a rip current. A rip is a strong current running out to sea on a surf beach. It can easily take swimmers from shallow water to several hundred metres offshore within a matter of minutes.

Good question! If you are caught in a rip remember to stay calm, raise your arm for help and wait to be rescued. Never try to swim against a rip but, if you feel able, you can swim parallel to the beach to escape the rip. The best advice is to avoid rip currents altogether by swimming between the red and yellow flags, observing all safety signs, and obeying instructions from surf lifesavers and lifeguards. For more information on rips, please visit http://www.ripcurrents.com.au/

It depends on where you are, and what kind of jellyfish has stung you. For all stings north of Agnes Water, we recommend treating the sting with vinegar for at least 30 seconds as a precaution in case it’s been caused by a venomous marine stinger. For all stings south of Agnes Water, hot water is best for at least 20 minutes, followed by a cold pack or ice for pain relief.

Always ask a surf lifesaver or lifeguard for help, if available, and phone triple zero (000) for emergency assistance and perform CPR if required.

Remember, prevention is better than cure! One of the best ways to prevent a marine sting is to only swim at patrolled marine stinger enclosures (in northern parts of Queensland) and between the red and yellow flags. There are also some basic precautions that swimmers can take to avoid the risk of a nasty sting. Wearing protective clothing such as Lycra body suits or wetsuits has proven to be effective and can also act as valuable sun protection.

Click here to view our marine stinger fact sheets: http://lifesaving.com.au/beach-safety/on-the-same-wave/beach-safety-fact-sheets/


Surf Life Saving Queensland is the state’s peak aquatic rescue authority and is one of the largest volunteer-based community service organisations in Australia.

The iconic red and yellow surf lifesaver patrol uniform, including the quartered noddy cap, is only available to qualified surf lifesavers and must only be worn whilst on patrol or other official duties as determined by the club or Surf Life Saving Queensland. We are unable to sell or loan any part of the uniform.

Easy! Head over to http://lifesaving.com.au/surf-skills-awareness-programs-schools and fill out the enquiry form. Our Community Awareness team will then be in touch!

There are many ways you can support Surf Life Saving Queensland. Check out our upcoming fundraising events, make a donation, buy a lottery ticket, become an organisational partner or hold a beneficiary event. Visit http://lifesaving.com.au/support-us for more details.

Queensland has 35,000 km of coastline with over 700 accessible beaches. That’s a massive area for our volunteer lifesavers from 58 clubs across the state to watch over. Your donation contributes directly to purchasing rescue gear and equipment, providing training for volunteer lifesavers and educating the community to prevent surf-related incidents.

The cost of providing this service is only possible thanks to the wonderful support of the community and your donation, no matter what size, will help Surf Life Saving Queensland save thousands of lives this year.

Nippers And Junior Activities

TThere are more than 10,000 junior surf lifesavers (nippers) in Queensland. Nippers need to be a minimum of five years of age and start learning about surf awareness and safety through the Junior Activities program. As they progress through the various age groups, nippers will undergo lessons in wading, running, swimming, board paddling and lifesaving skills including working towards resuscitation and first aid.

Junior Activities is open to children from the age of five (Under-6) up to 13 years (Under-14). The age for a season is calculated as of midnight 30 September that year.

No. Before the start of the Junior Activities season, each child is required to complete a Preliminary Skills Assessment designed to ensure that each participant demonstrates a standard of competence in an aquatic environment.

Participation in surf sports is not compulsory. Nippers are able to train to compete in club, regional and state surf lifesaving carnivals representing their clubs if they wish to do so.

Surf Life Saving Queensland recognises that the identification and management of risks of harm to children and young people is essential to the creation of a safe and supportive environment.

All of our volunteers and paid staff have Blue Cards or exemption notices. SLSQ and all surf clubs also have a Risk Management Strategy. We acknowledge that our staff and volunteers provide a valuable contribution to the positive experiences of our junior activities and youth members.

SLSQ is committed to ensure the protection, safety and welfare of our young participants and believe that we must place the safety and welfare of children and youth above all other considerations. Parents, children and the community have a right to be confident that we, and anyone we employ to oversee child-related activities and services, is properly qualified, screened, selected and supervised. They also have a right to make complaints if they have concerns.

For more information, visit http://lifesaving.com.au/membership/member-welfare-and-protection/slsq-child-and-youth-risk-management-strategy

Every club in Queensland offers a Junior Activities program, all with various styles and sizes. To join Nippers, you should head down to your nearest surf life saving club to find out more about their program. Click here to find your nearest club.

Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service

SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is one of the oldest community-based helicopter rescue services in the world, operating across South East Queensland since 1976. The service allows us to patrol a vast area of Queensland’s coastline from Rainbow Beach to Rainbow Bay, carrying out beach surveillance, shark warnings, preventative actions, missing person searches and rescues in the water and on the beach.

O The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is also used for emergency response, searches and rescues, working in conjunction with emergency service organisations including the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service and State Emergency Service.

At the beginning of the 2010 season, SLSQ began operating two helicopters in South East Queensland:

• Eurocopter EC135 – call sign ‘Lifesaver 45’

• BO 105 Super Five Twin Engine – call sign ‘Lifesaver 46’

The EC135 – ‘Lifesaver 45’ – was gifted to SLSQ by the State Government in 2009 and is based at Carrara to service the Gold Coast region. This helicopter offers greater operational capabilities particularly in assisting other service providers in search and rescue operations.

The BO 105 – ‘Lifesaver 46’ – services the Sunshine Coast, thanks to additional funding from Westpac to operate both aircraft.

Both helicopters patrol on weekends during the regular patrol season (September-May) and during other peak periods. They are also available to be tasked by emergency service organisations 7 days a week.

There are certain requirements to join the SLSQ Operations Support team, including the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service. As well as a Bronze Medallion and minimum of one year active beach patrol, WLRHS crew are required to hold their ART, Apply First Aid, and Radio Officer Certificates, plus Silver Medallion – IRB Drivers, Recreational Marine Licence, and pass a fitness test. Please discuss these pre-requisites with your club captain or regional lifesaving services coordinator for more information.


Contact the SLSQ Media Department on media@lifesaving.com.au or the on-call media mobile 0419 201 246.

Click here to view latest media releases. http://lifesaving.com.au/category/news/media-releases

Send us an email to media@lifesaving.com.au