Version control: Original 1986 / Updated 1999 / Updated 2003 / Updated 2016
You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.
Parents or caregivers must be informed of full details of the location, supervision to be provided and activities to be undertaken when seeking their written permission.
These guidelines apply to any surf life saving activity, but specific requirements have also been included for the delivery of the following Surf Life Saving awards:
- The SLSA Surf Survival Certificate.
- The SLSA surf Rescue Certificate.
- The SLSA Bronze Medallion.
|SLSA Surf Survival Certificate||12 years||Complete a continuous, unaided swim (goggles/masks permitted) of 150 metres in a swimming pool of not less than 25 metres or over a measured open water course, using either freestyle or breaststroke style, followed by a two (2) minute survival float.|
|SLSA Surf Rescue Certificate||13 years||Complete an unaided swim (goggles/masks permitted) of 200 metres in five (5) minutes or less, in a swimming pool of not less than 25 metres, or over a measured open water course. Swim must be observed and appropriately documented by the instructor prior to the candidate undertaking any water training or assessment activities.|
|SLSA Bronze Medallion||14 years||Complete an unaided swim (goggles/mask permitted) of 400 metres in nine (9) minutes or less, in a swimming pool of not less than 25 metres or over a measured open water course. Swim must be observed and appropriately documented by the instructor prior to the candidate undertaking any water training or assessment activity.|
|Award||Trainer requirement||Assessor requirement|
|SLSA Surf Survival Certificate||
Teacher and/or instructor must be:
Teacher and/or instructor must be:
|SLSA Surf Rescue Certificate||Teacher and/or instructor must be a currently endorsed SLSA Training Officer or Facilitator (Surf Rescue Certificate or SLSA Bronze Medallion).||Teacher and/or instructor must be a currently endorsed SLSA Training Officer or Facilitator (Surf Rescue Certificate or SLSA Bronze Medallion).|
|SLSA Bronze Medallion||Teacher and/or instructor must be a currently endorsed SLSA Training Officer or Facilitator (SLSA Bronze Medallion).||Teacher and/or instructor must be a currently endorsed SLSA Training Officer or Facilitator (SLSA Bronze Medallion).|
Teachers-in-charge should take into account such factors as age, experience and maturity of the students, environmental concerns and experience of the adult supervisors when arranging supervision. Where an adult other than a teacher is engaged to provide instruction, a teacher must be present to take overall responsibility.
The activity supervision plan should include provision for students when they are not in the water. The minimum teacher to student ratio for students who are not in the water should be no more than 1:16. A teacher must be present who has recognised current training in cardio pulmonary resuscitation and emergency care.
The following in-water supervision ratios apply:
- 1:5 (Water Safety Personnel : participants).
- 1:10 (Water safety Personnel : participants) in low-risk conditions - determined after pre-activity risk assessment.
- A minimum of two (2) Water safety Personnel at all times.
- A minimum of one (1) teacher conducting surveillance of the surf life saving activities from the beach.
Water Safety Personnel are defined as qualified and proficient lifesavers or lifeguards holding an aquatic rescue qualification or Surf rescue Certificate or Bronze Medallion. Water safety Personnel must be in the water with the students at all times.
The SLSA Surf Education Activities Water Safety Guidelines 1.1 should be referred to for further guidance on:
- In-water supervision ratios (including information on what "low-risk conditions" are).
- Risk management.
- Gear and equipment (including personal protective equipment [PPE]).
Any surf life saving equipment used must comply to SLSA specifications and be in good order. All equipment to be used must be checked prior to the activity by the teacher or the instructor.
Surf life saving activities are only to be conducted at a recognised safe location, where a surf patrol or council approved professional lifeguard service are operating and where rescue equipment is readily available. Lifesavers and lifeguards may only be included in the staff to student ratio if they do not have general lifeguard duties at the time, and their sole responsibility is for the students taking part in the activity.
A safe location will always be indicated by the red and yellow flags. Students are to be instructed to remain within the flagged area.
Schools are advised to provide advance notice to the respective council lifeguard service or Surf Life Saving NSW to secure a booking. They should report to the patrolling lifesavers or lifeguards prior to commencing surf life saving training activities.
The teacher-in-charge must ensure that all staff and students are adequately briefed in all relevant safety issues. A "buddy" system must be established for practical sessions and students must be informed of appropriate communication signals.
If the venue does mot have sufficient shade and shelter facilities, temporary shelter or shorter swimming sessions should be considered. Supervisors should be aware of conditions contributing to, and symptoms of, over exposure to heat (hyperthermia) and over exposure to cold (hypothermia).
Many natural venues do not have drinking water readily available. The provision of water and ensuring that the students drink it, particularly on hot days, should be included in the planning. Students are to be instructed not to, under any circumstances, to dig tunnels or large holes in sandy locations because of the unstable nature of the material.
Under no circumstances must free surfing, board riding or surfboard training be permitted. Except in the case of water-drill, the teacher or instructor will not permit any student to enter the surf during, or at the conclusion of the sport session. Any student found disobeying this restriction should be excluded from further participation in the activity.
No student is to enter the water without appropriate supervision. Training in the water will only take place with specific instruction of the qualified instructor. He or she must be satisfied that water conditions are safe for the planned activities. The teacher or instructor is to ensure that an effective surveillance is maintained while water training is in progress.
Swimming is to be restricted to within the broken surf unless an inflatable rescue boat or rescue equipped personal water craft (with an available qualified driver) is present.
Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g. an SP50+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen reapplied regularly, a shirt and hat where appropriate.