Helicopter Crew

Take your lifesaving skills to new heights as a crew member of Surf Life Saving Queensland’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service.

SLSQ’s Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service is manned by both fulltime and volunteer crew members. This structure ensures a rich blend of experience across the service, while also providing a clear pathway for volunteer surf lifesavers to up-skill and transfer their patrol experience from the beach to the sky. Helicopter crew members are highly trained, qualified and motivated members of the surf lifesaving movement. Helicopter crew can be both part-time or fulltime, depending on the requirements of the service and the individual.

Crew members actively and regularly participate in helicopter patrols along South East Queensland’s coastline, monitoring for swimmers in distress and/or other incidents unfolding on the beach. All crew members are proficient in surf jump/static line and basic down-the-wire hoist operations. This ensures they play a key role in helicopter rescues, entering the water to directly assist swimmers in need.


Anyone applying for a casual crew position, as an aircrew person or rescue crew person with the helicopter service must:

  • be a financial member of a surf life saving club
  • be recommended by the club for duties on the helicopter
  • hold a current SLSA Bronze Medallion (or higher)
  • have completed a minimum of three (3) years patrol service or be approved by the Chief Pilot and helicopter advisor
  • be a minimum of 21 years of age at the date of application
  • have an acceptable body weight
  • hold a current Senior First Aid certificate or equivalent
  • hold a current Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Certificate
  • hold a current open driver’s licence
  • hold an inflatable rescue boat (IRB) drivers licence
  • provide an initial medical certificate of fitness similar to the criteria of the certificate required by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for a student pilot licence
  • be able to pass the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service fitness test

The crew fitness test applies to all helicopter crew personnel (except pilots and specialist crew where the role does not require them to enter the water).

Crew fitness testing requirements include:

  • Run 2.4km in 12 minutes
  • Swim 500 metres in 11 minutes (wearing fins, wetsuit & harness)
  • Patient recovery swim, 300 metres in 10 minutes (wearing fins, wetsuit & harness). This comprises a 50 metre swim, dive to bottom of pool, recover patient & return with patient 50 metres (must be completed 3 times).
  • Strength: 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 10-second arm flex (hold weight with elbows bent to 90 degrees only. Knees raised to 90 degrees perpendicular to torso)
  • Survival: 12 minutes tread water in flight suit/overalls (initial applicants only)
  • Total time: the test must be completed in entirety within a 2-hour window.

Testing is undertaken on initial application and at least one test every six (6) months (individual crew members may be tested at any time) or after a serious illness or injury has occurred.


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