Diversity and Inclusion

Surf Life Saving is for everyone.

As Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority, SLSA takes pride in promoting Surf Life Saving as a diverse and inclusive movement open to all Australians.

SLSA supports initiatives and programs run by all SLS Entities (States, Branches, Clubs) that are designed to encourage participation by all Australians and to make everyone feel like they belong between the flags.

Commitment Statement

Surf Life Saving is the largest volunteer organisation in the country. We deliver a unique and inclusive environment where diversity is celebrated. We actively listen to our volunteers and the broader community, and we promote progressive values and innovative thinking. Our sense of ‘belonging’ binds us together and helps to create great Australians and build better and more resilient communities. The ocean doesn’t discriminate and neither does Surf Life Saving.

Click the boxes to download our Inclusion and Diversity Statement and our Member Protection Policy.

Disability Inclusion

SLSA is committed to being an organisation that is open to everyone in the Australian community.

People with a disability are encouraged to get involved in SLS activities and SLSA supports individuals to participate and obtain skills and qualifications.

SLSA supports club-run disability inclusion programs through the Inclusive Beaches program. The content and resources available aim to assist Surf Life Saving clubs to support the inclusion of people of different abilities and backgrounds to join their local club and learn to be safe and confident at the beach. 

Does your club run a program that supports people with disabilities to participate in club activities? Help purchase necessary equipment with the SLSA Inclusive Beaches Equipment Grant 2021/22.

Indigenous Inclusion

SLSA is committed to greater promotion and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Surf Life Saving.

A recent initiative has been the awarding of an annual scholarship to an Indigenous Surf Lifesaver to attend the annual National Leaders Masterclass (Masterclass). The Masterclass is a leadership and development program for senior leaders in SLS. The scholarship covers the recipient’s costs to attend Masterclass and aims to develop and promote Indigenous leaders in SLS.

Multicultural Inclusion

SLSA has a diverse membership and is committed to ensuring people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds join and feel welcome 

This diversity is supported by numerous programs and initiatives run by states, branches and clubs. The objectives of these programs and initiatives is to provide opportunities and pathways for diverse communities to be engaged in all areas of Surf Life Saving. 

LGBTQ Inclusion

Surf Life Saving Australia values the diversity of our members. We believe that regardless of an individual’s sex, sexuality, gender identity or any other defining characteristic, everyone involved in Surf Life Saving should be included and engaged in a positive and meaningful way, which benefits both the individual and the movement.


Surf Life Saving Australia is committed to increasing accessibility and participation within lifesaving for LGBTQ people through:

  • Engagement with LGBTQ stakeholders and community
  • Raising awareness internally
  • Providing pathway opportunities
  • Creating equal opportunities through community events

Engaging with LGBTQ stakeholders

SLSA is proud to work alongside our partners to grow the Surf Life Saving both within and beyond the LGBT community across Australia. People who identify as LGBT should be able to participate in Surf Life Saving at all levels, whether that be as a Life Saver, competitor, official, spectator, volunteer or employee.

SLSA is a proud member of Pride in Sport. Pride in Sport works with SLSA to promote inclusion for LGBTQ people in Surf Life Saving. They also created the world’s first Pride in Sport Index (please see below for more information), benchmarking the inclusion of LGBTQ people in sporting codes. Furthermore, the Pride in Sport Awards commenced in 2018, and identify role model participants, coaches, administrators, clubs and initiatives within the LGBTQ space from all sports around Australia. Gary Driscoll from Lifesavers with Pride was awarded the LGBTQ Out Role Model of the year award at the 2020 Pride in Sport awards for his work promoting LGBTQ inclusion in Surf Life Saving.

SLSA also works internally within the life saving community with LGBTQ stakeholders to ensure that our message of inclusion and respect is being received. This includes Lifesavers with Pride, an organisation of LGBTQ lifesavers who provide guidance, support and advocacy on behalf of LGBT lifesavers. They operate nationally, representing Surf Life Saving in LGBTQ community events, and aim to promote lifesaving as a welcoming, progressive and inclusive movement for the LGBT community.


The Australian Pride in Sport Awards acknowledges achievements within smaller clubs, LGBTQ community sports, coaches, role models, and allies for their contribution towards greater inclusion of people with diverse sexualities and genders, in Australian sport. There are six (6) categories open for public nominations:

  • 2021 Ally of the Year
  • 2021 LGBTQ Community Sports Award
  • 2021 LGBTQ Inclusion Initiative Award
  • 2021 LGBTQ Inclusive Coach of the Year
  • 2021 LGBTQ Out Role Model of the Year
  • 2021 LGBTQ Positive Media Award
  • 2021 Community Sporting Club of the Year

Full details are here – www.prideinsport.com.au/awards