Governance & Oversight


Since 1907, when a small number of Sydney Surf Life Saving (SLS) clubs formed the organisation now known as Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), we have evolved into a highly federated and geographically disperse organisation, made up of 491 entities/groups including 311 separately incorporated Surf Life Saving Clubs, 17 regional branches (in NSW and Queensland), 83 support operations (regional rescue and response teams), 69 paid lifeguard services and seven State and Territory centres.

These various separate entities are not subsidiaries of SLSA and have a variety of legal and reporting structures; therefore, their financial results are not consolidated here.

We are the peak policy and decision-making body for the SLS movement. Under our constitution, our members are:

  • State Centres, represented by their appointed directors have the right to be present, debate and vote at our general meetings.
  • Affiliated Clubs, which shall be represented by an individual nominated from time to time in writing by the club to the relevant State Centre. The nominee shall have the right to be present and to debate on behalf of the Affiliated Club at General Meetings, but shall have no voting rights.
  • Life Members of SLSA, have the right to be present and to debate at our general meetings, but with no voting rights.
  • All individual members of affiliated SLSCs, who have the right to be present at general meetings, but with no voting or debating rights.


Each year, prior to the commencement of the season, individual members sign an application for joint membership of SLSA, their State Centre and their club. Where the members are less than 18 years of age, the membership form is signed by a parent or legal guardian. This detailed membership form meets a number of legal requirements, including indemnification of SLSA in the event of any claim arising from a surf lifesaving activity, as well as outlining a member’s individual liability in the unlikely event of a wind-up of SLSA.

SLSA also operates two subsidiary companies to provide helicopter rescue services in NSW. Other helicopter rescue services operate in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia through their respective State Centres.

The Surf Life Saving Foundation (SLSF) which is also a wholly owned subsidiary, undertakes a national fundraising role on behalf of the movement.

Patrons of Surf Life Saving Australia

Chief Patrons

His Royal Highness Prince Philip KG KT OM GBE AC QSO PC
Duke of Edinburgh

His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia


His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd)
Governor of New South Wales

His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC
Governor of Queensland

His Excellency the Honourable Hien Van Le AO
Governor of South Australia

Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC
Governor of Western Australia

Her Excellency the Honourable Kate Warner AC
Governor of Tasmania

His Honour the Honourable John Hardy OAM
Administrator of the Northern Territory

Vice Patron

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister of Australia

Life Governor

Alan Whelpton AO
Sir Adrian Curlewis CVO CBE*

* Denotes deceased

Governance & Oversight – Governance & Oversight


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