With 49,000 volunteer patrolling members keeping our beaches safe nationwide, Surf Life Saving Australia has a responsibility to ensure each and every one of them is equipped with the most up to date training and qualifications.
That’s why every year, all of our qualified lifesavers undergo a process called Skills Maintenance.
This guarantees that their lifesaving skills are in sync with current scientific research and literature in drowning prevention, first aid and beach management. It also ensures they are fit enough for active patrolling duties.
Skills maintenance activities are managed at a club level, so members have the flexibility to run the program according to their specific needs.
A Bronze Medallion qualified lifesaver has to demonstrate, at least annually, that they can:
- Perform resuscitation on people of all ages
- Run, swim, then run again a specified distance within a maximum period of time
- Conduct a board or a tube rescue in the surf zone
- Communicate using a range of internationally recognised SLS hand signals and radio terminology and technology
Members that hold additional qualifications such as Advanced Resuscitation, First Aid, Spinal Management, Inflatable Rescue Boat Crew or Driver, need to also show they meet the skills maintenance requirements of these qualifications too.
It’s a huge undertaking to ensure that every year our lifesavers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and fitness to patrol Australia’s beaches.
It requires a coordinated effort from trainers, assessors, administrators, water safety personnel and active patrolling members to ensure that we can continue to work towards our vision of zero preventable deaths in Australian waters.
SLSA is always looking for ways to improve the skills maintenance process for our members. Some of the innovations introduced last year include:
- Using online tools to increase options for members
- Changing the rules around who could assess someone for skills maintenance
- Introducing a new policy ensuring that members travelling interstate would not be disadvantaged
- Streamlining the way skills maintenance was processed in our national member database SurfGuard
SLSA welcomes your feedback on these recent developments. We are currently evaluating these changes via a national member survey accessible HERE