The North Coast Branch, through its volunteer patrol network is committed to providing a safe aquatic environment for the community on our beaches and coastline. While doing so, our Clubs offer our members many opportunities to promote a healthy lifestyle, responsibility and purpose, positive social interaction and of course having fun.
Season 2020-2021: Patrols commence Saturday 26 September 2020 and conclude Sunday 25 April 2021
Volunteer patrols are operational across eight locations within the North Coast Branch on all weekends and public holidays throughout the season. Patrols operate on a rotating roster basis with teams consisting of members as young as 13 and others with decades of experience. Every single patrol member is trained to the highest possible standard and is knowledgeable about the skills, techniques and procedures to carry out life saving operations as well as providing first aid and resuscitation.
Our members dedicate countless hours each season to the protecting our coastline. We are easily identifiable on the beach thanks to our iconic red and yellow uniforms and flags.
The North Coast Branch Support Operations is made up of Duty Officers, Rescue Waters Craft (RWC) and unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). These operate as part of a Branch-wide team rather than Club-based and they support all eight Clubs across the Branch.
The members of the Support Operation Teams are highly valued for their knowledge, skills and experience, and in most cases the extra time they put into Support Operations is in addition to their normal club duties.
Branch Duty Officer
A Duty Officer is a highly experience senior lifesaver who is trained and skilled in the coordination of responses to serious incidents – both during patrol hours and after-hours as required. They are on-call 24/7 every day of the year and are supported by a call-out team which consists of a designated Surf Life Saver from each Club.
Duty Officers have already had a substantial amount of experience managing their beach as a Patrol Captain before taking on the role. They also undergo additional training and professional development each year which includes search and rescue exercises, member welfare and psychological first aid among other topics.
During patrol hours they are available to provide support to Patrol Captains in the co-ordination of major incidents/rescues and liaise with other emergency services and the media.
Outside patrol hours they are the first point of call in in coastal emergency incidents, coordinating the response of any Surf Life Saving resources as well as assisting the emergency services and addressing the media.
Rescue Water Craft (RWC)
The North Coast Branch features RWC’s (better known as jet-ski’s) which are operated by qualified and proficient lifesavers and fitted with a surf kit including rescue sled. Due to their speed, maneuverability and need for only one operator, they have become a vital tool in our Support Operations.
Their primary purpose is to support beach patrols, providing increased surveillance and rapid responses in high-risk and unpatrolled areas. They also provide water safety at all surf carnivals, ocean swims and other aquatic events.
The RWC’s have also revolutionised the Branch’s after hour’s emergency response capabilities, regularly responding to major search and rescue incidents outside of the normal season, often to save lives at remote locations.
The North Coast Branch runs RWC training as required, generally during the winter months when the jet skis are not being used for patrol. Any member who holds the required qualifications and has the required experience as an IRB Driver and a Patrol Captain, is welcome to apply. Find out more about the training here.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
The introduction of UAV’s (better known as drones) has even further boosted the beach safety services we provide to the local community by giving us ‘eyes in the sky’.
They are an exceptional resource for shark surveillance (capturing data for the DPI), enhancing member welfare at Nippers carnivals and assisting beach patrols with proactive surveillance to identify people at risk away from the standard flagged areas. They are also an invaluable resource in search and rescues and provide assistance to the emergency services.
Anyone who wishes to fly a drone for the Branch will be required to do a two-day course. Content covered in this course includes a full day of practical flight training with an instructor and operationally specific information which includes identification of marine life and other hazards such as rip currents. If you have a current Remote Pilots Licence (RePL) or other aviation qualifications, you may be granted recognition of prior learning (RPL) and only be required for the operationally specific aspect of the course.
The Branch runs training for UAV pilots throughout the season. UAV pilots don’t need to be qualified patrol members but do need to complete the course and hold a radio operator’s certificate. Find out more about the training here.