Member Services

Surf Life Saving prides itself on its leadership pathways, mentoring and junior development

Member Services is the portfolio responsible for coordinating, promoting and facilitating activities and programs to enhance club and member development.

The main areas of focus are:

Mentoring and Junior Development

Membership Types

Surf Life Saving has a number of membership categories catering to a variety of people, skills and experiences.
Listed below are the primary membership categories available to members:

Nippers: a fun way for children aged 5 to 14 to enjoy the beach in a safe environment. The Junior Development Program is designed to ensure children have fun at the beach while participating in lessons that will give them a pathway to becoming a fully rounded participant in both life saving and sport.

Cadets: gain their Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) from age 13 which allows them to become a Cadet Lifesaver and participate on patrols. They then train to become fully qualified surf lifesavers under the guidance of experience life saving mentors.

Active Youth (15 – 18 years): active life savers but under 18. Members must have a proficient bronze medallion and do patrols.

Active Senior (18+): active surf lifesavers (either are a lifesaver or have decided to train to become one). Members must have a proficient bronze medallion and do patrols.

Award: granted by a Club to persons who hold an award of one (or more) of the following qualifications: Surf Rescue Certificate, Radio award/s, Resuscitation Certificate, Advanced Resuscitation Certificate or First Aid Certificate (or equivalent).

Associate: granted by a Club to persons who may or may not hold a Surf Life Saving Australia award.

Long Service: These members have undertaken a total of 10 years satisfactory full patrolling (or 8 years of full patrols and 4 years Reserve Active patrols and are no longer required to do patrols, but are welcome to continue patrolling).

Life: a special prestigious category of membership reserved for those who are honoured in recognition of many years of ongoing commitment to the Club. Nominees for this category are discussed and voted on at the Club’s Annual General Meeting.

Find out more about joining as a member of your local Club here.

Member Development – Juniors (6-14)


To become a “Nipper” is to join a junior activities program aimed at children aged between 5 and 14 years of age where the beach is the classroom. It teaches children about surf skills, awareness and safety in a fun way whilst making new friends. The season generally runs from October through till March and is a weekly event held on Sunday mornings for a couple of hours. Parents are most welcome to assist with activities which are run by qualified Age Managers. Nippers can join at any stage of the program which delivers valuable learning outcomes.

Learn more about the Nippers program here.

The program is structured to:

  • Create situations that promote fun learning experiences
  • Create an awareness of current issues, pathways and opportunities
  • Promote teamwork, communication skills and networking
  • Form new friendships with other like-minded youth within the North Coast Branch
  • Develop confidence, self-esteem and empowerment in a supportive environment whilst positively recognising members
  • Provide opportunities for ideas to be exchanged
  • To gain knowledge of the structure of surf life saving
  • Have fun!

Junior Camp

Each year, the North Coast Branch holds a Junior Development Camp to assist in the on-going development of our Nippers into Junior Life Savers. The program is an initiative aimed at the U13 and U14 age group to aid in the development of leadership and teamwork skills.

It is held over the course of a weekend at a specially equipped venue on the Coffs Coast. Nippers from the eight Clubs get to know each other and join together in a range of fun and challenging activities. These cover on-site activities such as commando course, archery, zorb ball, giant swing, canoeing, circus skills and more.

The weekend is supported by a range of speakers from the ranks of Surf Life Saving and beyond who present the range of opportunities available to people in Surf Life Saving. A highlight is hearing from the winners of the previous year’s Junior Lifesaver of the Year Award to motivate and inspire participants. The talks are aimed at presenting a range of perspectives: from the individual, the wider community and Surf Life Saving at a state and national level.

Junior Lifesaver Of The Year (JLOTY)

This award is a way for Clubs and Branches to recognize their U14 members’ achievements in Surf Life Saving and the contributions they have made to all levels of surf life saving as well as within their local communities.

The JLOTY Development Camp brings together the Junior Lifesaver of the Year winners from all 11 Branches in NSW. The focus of this camp is a combination of learning through experience and fun. Participants will be involved in physical challenges, presentations and discussions, activities and scenarios that require leadership, teamwork and communication.

The North Coast Branch Junior Lifesavers of the Year for 2022-23 are Lillian Lougher from Minnie Water-Wooli SLSC and Ned O’Donnell from Urunga SLSC. To learn more about JLOTY here.

Member Development – Youth (15-18)

Youth Engagement Program

This is a structured program to keep youth motivated and involved in Surf Life Saving. The program also offers them the opportunity to explore and become involved in a range of areas within the movement which they may not have previously considered.

The Youth Engagement Program aims to:

  • Engage and expose participants to a variety of activities and pathways available within Surf Life Saving
  • Increase the retention of young members by assisting the transition from the junior movement into the senior movement
  • Encourage continuous development of youth
  • Promote increased participation and commitment of youth
  • Increase the recognition of members through the identification of contributions and activities of 13-18 year old members
  • Positively promote youth as respected members and citizens within their local community

Aims of the workshop include:

  • To create situations that promote fun learning experiences
  • To create an awareness of current issues, pathways and opportunities
  • To promote teamwork, communication skills and goal setting
  • To develop confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment whilst positively recognising members
  • Provide opportunities for ideas to be exchanged

Youth Opportunity Maker’s Program (YOMS)

YOMS is a workshop-based program for 15-17 year-olds. It is geared towards creating greater awareness of opportunities and individual abilities and also enables members to work with like-minded peers and develop skills. The three-day program, sponsored by Surf Life Saving NSW is held at Surf Life Saving’s Collaroy Learning Centre on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The program is aimed at members who believe they have qualities that can be developed to enhance the future of their Club and Branch. Participants will take part in focused learning, presentations and workshops as well as some great fun activities and challenges.

Member Development – Adults (18+)

Personal development is on-going and encouraged in Surf Life Saving. Members have a variety of opportunities whereby they can explore different pathways and contribute to the movement. Personal development pathways are open to senior members in the areas of officiating, coaching, age managing, support operations, trainer/assessor roles, executive

roles at Club level, committee roles at Club, Branch and State level, working groups/general calls for help at Club level, conferences (State/National) and attendance at master-classes and forums to help enhance knowledge of the movement.

In addition, Surf Life Saving also offers specific programs in the following areas:

Development Network Program (18-25)

The program is aimed at members who have leadership qualities that can be developed to enhance their future both within and external to Surf Life Saving. The focus of this program is networking, social engagement and specific skill development.

Life Saving Exchange Program (18-30)

The program is aimed at new Patrol Captains to challenge their skills by participating in Surf Life Saving activities in a new environment with an overall objective of identifying initiatives that can then be implemented in their own clubs.

Strategic Leadership Program (20+)

This program is for proactive Surf Life Savers who are keen to have a say in the future of the organisation, develop their leadership skills, have fun, be inclusive, work hard, champion change and be the voice of the future. Active Surf Life Savers from every Branch who are newly appointed position holders, or who see themselves taking on a leadership role in the next three years are encouraged to apply.

National Leadership College (20-30)

The National Leadership College (NLC) is an annual leadership and development program recognising young leaders in Surf Life Saving. The NLC is designed to challenge participants intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. The skills gained are designed to be taken back to clubs and into other areas of the participant’s daily life, with the aim of contributing to SLSA’s mission statement of saving lives, creating great Australians and building better communities.

Member Recognition

Surf Life Saving relies heavily upon the efforts and enthusiasm displayed by its members. Members are our best resource and we work hard to ensure they are recognised for their dedication, professionalism and countless hours of service. Throughout the North Coast Branch, we recognise our members in different ways from Club through to national level:

Meritorious Awards: These are awarded to affiliated clubs or members for outstanding deeds of bravery performed during life saving operations either during or outside of patrol hours. Members of the public can also be nominated for a meritorious award;

Commendations: Recognises outstanding team work, rescue skills, rescue management etc by members of the Branch. This award includes rescue or application of life saving skills by members in exceptional circumstances on or off the beach;

Service Honours: North Coast Clubs are able to nominate members for Life Membership and Service Honours at a Branch level.  Service Honours include Life Membership, Distinguished Service, Outstanding Service, Prominent Service and Community Service.

Awards of Excellence: The culmination of a season’s efforts for all involved from patrolling members, competitors, officials to volunteers doing barbeque and kiosk shifts. The evening celebrates the accomplishments of members and Clubs from the season just passed and provides an excellent opportunity for members of the eight Clubs to celebrate as one. The awards recognise outstanding service in the areas of Administration, Surf Sports Life Saving, Education and Member Services.  Winners of Patrol Compliance and Most Outstanding Club are also presented on the night along with Life Membership and Service Honour pins.

Complaints Resolution

The Complaints Resolution Policy outlines clear steps for complainants, respondents, and complaint handlers when complaints arise.