Qualifying as a Lifeguard
To be a qualified lifeguard you must be 14 years or older and pass your Surf Lifeguard Award exam. The exam comprises:
•400m pool swim in under 9 minutes
•run/swim/run in the surf
•practical surf knowledge test
Each season active Surf Lifeguards must perform a refresher test. This includes a swim, resuscitation test and first aid questions. It is not designed to fail people but to ensure their fitness and knowledge is up to the required standard.
Lifeguard training and equipment
Lifeguards have the capability to perform extraordinary rescues. We are physically fit and regularly up-skill to perform the role of the lifeguard. We employ the most advanced and up-to-date technology and systems to support the delivery of our service.
Our basic rescue unit is the Surf Lifeguard with a rescue tube and swim-fins. A rescue tube is a flexible red neoprene floatation device used for wrapping around a patient and clipping them in. A short length of rope separates the tube from a webbing strap that is worn by the lifeguard. Rescues are made by securing, then towing the patient to shore using swim fins, surf and rips.
This method of rescue is very common and very effective for shorter range rescues or those that must be performed close to rocks or areas that other rescue methods either cannot access.
Inflatable Rescue Boats - IRBs
Our other major rescue technique involves two lifeguards and a 3.8m inflatable rescue boat (or IRB). These craft are powered by a modified 30 horsepower outboard engine and the fuel cell is a flexible bladder of 20 litres capacity allowing these craft to operate in the surf for approximately one hour at a time.
IRBs are designed to operate inshore on short trips in and around the surf zone during the hours of daylight and are equipped with a rescue tube, knife and two paddles. If capsize occurs, the crew is trained to right the craft and 'surf' it in to shore. These craft can perform rescues very close to rock formations and be driven in very large seas.