Surf Lifesavers are men and women who volunteer their time to provide aquatic supervision all over Australia’s coastal environment.
Currently Surf Life Saving Queensland has more than 8000 active lifesavers who patrol the beach every weekend through affiliated community-based volunteer clubs.
All qualified surf lifesavers wear the internationally recognised red and yellow patrol uniform and can be identified by wearing the red and yellow quartered cap, long sleeved yellow shirt, red shorts, swimming costume, and hat.
The red and yellow cap is an internationally recognised safety symbol and is proudly worn by surf lifesavers so they are easily identified by the public, particularly when they are performing patrol duties in the water. The cap is also worn by lifesavers for their own safety so they can easily be identified by fellow lifesavers.
Surf lifesavers hold the minimum requirement of a Bronze Medallion. The Bronze Medallion teaches a range of activities in order to be able to perform all the basic requirements of a lifesaver including:
- Safety and wellbeing
- Surf awareness and skills
- Anatomy and physiology
- First aid
- Resuscitation (CPR)
- Radio communications
- Rescue techniques
- Carries and Support
- Patrol methods
- Rescue Equipment
Surf lifesaving personnel utilise a wide variety of equipment to assist in patrolling the beaches of Queensland. Rescue equipment comes in many different forms which are designed to accommodate difficult surf environments, and its many hazards. These consist of:
- Rescue Tube
- Rescue Board
- First Aid Medical Equipment
- Oxygen Equipment
- Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB)
- Rescue Water Craft (jet skis)
- All Terrain Vehicles (ATV)
- Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service
- 4WD vehicles
- Communications system and equipment
- Beach Patrols
All volunteer surf life saving clubs provide beach patrols on their allocated beaches. Clubs may provide more than one swimming area area if there is the requirement in their area.
The beach patrol is a team of volunteer members rostered onto duty for a specified time. The patrol team is coordinated by the Patrol Captain who is responsible for the coordination of actions in monitoring the beach and in times of rescue and emergency care.
The three most common methods of patrolling used in Queensland are:
Between The Flags
This is the most commonly used patrol method. It requires the setting of flags at the best place for the bathing public, taking into consideration the prevailing surf conditions, accessibility of the public, and beach usage. It involves placing full patrol and equipment on the beach. The lifesavers can then monitor the bathing community in this area by watching both ends of the flagged area.
The roving method is used in conjunction with the traditional method. The flagged area is set and manned, as in the traditional method. The patrol captain then designates pairs of patrol members who move back and forth along the beach, watching outside the flagged areas. This method of patrol can use IRBs and beach vehicles and extends the boundaries of the patrol. Clubs with sufficient members and equipment are encouraged to extend their area of surveillance via this method.
This method involves using the traditional patrolling system at the most popular swimming area but allows a minimum patrol (outpost) to be set up, usually without flags, at a less popular swimming area. This type of patrol also enables clubs to provide a lifesaving service to beaches that have no surf lifesaving club.
Surf Lifesaving personnel utilise a wide variety of equipment to assist in patrolling the beaches of Queensland. Rescue equipment comes in many different forms and is designed to accommodate difficult surf environments and its many hazards. You can become a surf lifesaver if you are young or simply young at heart. There is a role for everyone in or out of the water. You can make a difference to the safety of our beaches, and be part of an Australian icon.