Who We Are

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) is Australia’s peak coastal water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority.

With 168,823 volunteer members and 311 affiliated Surf Life Saving Clubs, Surf Life Saving Australia represents the largest volunteer movement of its kind in Australia.

Since Surf Life Saving (SLS) was established in 1907 over 650,000 lives have been saved. In 2016/17 our Surf Life Saving active members were involved in over 10,800 rescues, 108,044 first aid treatments and nearly four million preventative actions. Our volunteers carried out more than 1.35 million patrol hours.

SLS is a unique not-for-profit community cause that exists through community donations, fundraising, corporate sponsorship and government grants.


Surf Life Saving exists to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities.

Australia has over 11,500 beaches dispersed along 36,000km of coastline and receives an estimated 100 million visitations annually.

Despite significant advancements in technology, techniques and knowledge, people still drown on the coast in unacceptable numbers. Surf Life Saving exists to save lives and we are committed to reducing the coastal drowning toll.


The Surf Life Saving movement creates a safe environment on and off Australian beaches through a range of support operations. These operations include: 24/7 emergency response groups, rescue helicopter services, jet rescue boats, offshore rescue boats, rescue water craft, surveillance systems, radio control and coordination centres, and, volunteer lifesaving services. Surf Life Saving through the State and Territory Centres operates the Australian Lifeguard Service, the country’s largest lifeguard service, providing cost recovery lifesaving services to local government and other coastal land managers.


SLSA has developed a strategic plan that will guide the Surf Life Saving movement through to the year 2020. The focus of our 2020 Strategic Plan is to further build the capacity and capability of the movement to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities. These are the four pillars of strategic intent we pursue to achieve our mission:

  1. Extend lifesaving coverage to match community needs.
  2. Develop our people.
  3. Ensure a relevant and growing movement.
  4. Engage the community to participate and donate.


Our principal stakeholders are those who use the Australian coastline, and those who are directly or indirectly impacted by our actions.


  • SLS members: SLSA has a duty of care to protect its members as they carry out their duties on and off the beach.
  • Potential members: The organisation depends on new recruits to maintain and increase lifesaving services.
  • Beach-going community: SLSA communicate with the community via a variety of different programs and channels, including public advertising and awareness campaigns and the distribution of educational resources.
  • Donors: SLSA communicate to our donors, the Guardians of the Surf, regularly through the Surf Life Saving Foundation.



  • Parliamentary Friends of Surf Life Saving (Federal): SLSA invite members to participate in quarterly updates outlining Surf Life Saving’s key issues and activities.
  • Australian Government departments and agencies: SLSA rely on the support from the following Australian Government departments and agencies for a number of our programs:
    • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
    • Australian Sports Commission
    • Department of Health
    • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
    • Department of the Environment and Energy
    • Department of Vocational Education and Training
  • Other levels of government: State centres have direct relationships with state governments, while our clubs liaise with their relevant local government. For particular activities, namely national sporting events, SLSA will form a relationship with state and local government.
  • Parliamentarians: In order to strengthen the reputation of the organisation we engage in proactive advocacy with elected members of parliament, particularly those representing coastal seats.



  • Corporate Partners: The majority of our programs are funded by a number of corporate partners. We also actively seek new partners to ensure the long term sustainability of the movement. SLSA encourage all Australian corporates to include Surf Life Saving in their Workplace Giving Program.



  • State and Territory centres: State and Territory centres represent our members on the SLSA Board. SLSA have regular contact with our owners through Board meetings and other forums.
  • Staff



As a community cause, SLSA relies on the Australian Government and corporate partners and donors to fund the majority of its activities. One third of the parent entities funding comes from the Federal Government. The remaining two thirds is secured via national corporate partners, licensing and fees for competitions.

The SLS Foundation actively conducts fundraising around Australia on behalf of SLSA and our state centres while Surf Life Saving clubs also conduct their own fundraising activities. To support their lifesaving activities the state centres (which report separately) are engaged in commercial activities such as education, training and the provision of contract lifeguard services to local government and other land managers.



SLSA is a company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth). The SLS Foundation operates under the charitable fundraising legislation in each of the states and territories it is registered. SLSA is also
a registered charitable institution under the NSW Charitable Fundraising Act1991 (NSW).


This is the Annual Report of Surf Life Saving Australia Ltd. The Surf Life Saving movement is made up of 491 separate legal entities, ranging from state centres, clubs, branches and support operations. The financial accounts of these entities, whose relationship with SLSA Ltd is further described in section four, are not consolidated here. However, the activities and achievements of all Australian surf lifesavers are consolidated and reported.


Notice is given of the Annual General Meeting of SLSA Ltd. The meeting will be held on Friday 10 November 2017 at SLSA’s Office, Surf House at Bondi Icebergs. All SLSA members are welcome to attend.

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