Surf lifesavers originated in Australia in 1906 in response to drownings at local beaches in Sydney. Such groups became necessary following the relaxing of laws prohibiting daylight bathing on Australian beaches. Volunteer groups of men were trained in life saving methods and patrolled the beaches as lifesavers looking after public safety.
The original surf life saving club is a matter of contention between the Bronte and Bondi beach clubs in Sydney.
Since this time, volunteer lifesavers have saved more than 550,000 lives.
Surf lifesavers spend more than a million hours a year patrolling our beaches, pools and coastlines. Together they rescue around 11,000 people, provide emergency care to 35,000 and give safety advice to more than 600,000 others. And that’s every year.
It is estimated that 83 per cent of Australian's lived within 50 kms of the coastline and its beaches.
Lifesavers are volunteers that typically patrol in groups under a patrol captain for a given period of time on weekend and public holidays under a roster system.
In order to be a surf lifesaver a person must hold a Bronze Medallion or a Surf Rescue Certificate and pass an annual proficiency test.
Nippers is a junior program that introduces children aged 5 to 13 to surf lifesaving. It is a fun outdoors activity that grows a child’s confidence, teaches valuable life skills and knowledge. Every surf life saving club around Australia offers a nippers program, all with various styles and sizes.
The red and yellow of our Aussie surf lifesavers has been etched into the hearts and minds of all Australians. We watch over you.
Next time you are at the beach, watch out for them. Find the red and yellow flags and always swim between them -
remember if surf lifesavers can't see you they can't save you.