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Surf Life Saving in Australia

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Merewether SLSC, Newcastle NSW

Merewether Beach, Newcastle, NSW

SLSC - from humble beginnings

Surf Life Saving clubs began forming in 1907 in Australia, due to rapidly increasing visitors to the beach as a result of the gradual abolition of restrictive laws preventing bathing during daylight hours. As a result of this influx of visitors who were now permitted to bathe, the number of drownings increased to the point where something needed to be done, and from this need to protect, the modern surf club was born.

Clovelly Beach Surf Lifesaving Club

Clovelly SLSC, Sydney, NSW

World's largest volunteer movement

Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) provides the following statistics of their contribution to our beach lifestyle:

  • There's around 100 million visitations to Australian beaches annually
  • SLSA account for more than 12,690 rescues per year
  • Since inception, SLSA have rescued over 630,000 people
  • There's 313 affiliated Surf Life Saving Clubs in Australia
  • SLSA boasts over 169,000 members, making it the largest volunteer movement of any kind in the world
  • Volunteers patrol over 1.3 million hours, and perform around 1.25 million preventative actions annually

Woorim Beach SLSC, Bribie Island QLD

Bribie Island SLSC, Woorim Beach, QLD

Surf Life Saving clubs today

Gone are the days where the clubs were a domain for the weekend volunteers who'd patrol the local beaches and hang out in the vastly under-utilised facilities. Today there are over 300 SLSC's around Australia, and many of these are starting to capitalise on their absolute beachfront locations by operating other services such as restaurants and bars to draw in the huge crowds that descend on the beach each week.

Copacabana SLSC Central Coast NSW

Copacabana SLSC, Central Coast, NSW

Full list of Surf Life Saving clubs in Australia

VIC - Surf Life Saving Victoria

TAS - Surf Life Saving Tasmania

QLD - Surf Life Saving Queensland

SA - Surf Life Saving South Australia

NT - Surf Life Saving Northern Territory

WA - Surf Life Saving Western Australia

NSW - Surf Life Saving New South Wales


Lakes Entrance SLSC tower

Lakes Entrance SLSC, Gippsland, VIC 

Join a Surf Life Saving Club

If you'd like to get involved and help protect your local beach, visit Surf Life Saving Australia and join the movement.

Point Lookout SLSC on North Stradbroke Island QLDPoint Lookout SLSC, North Stradbroke Island, QLD

Prints available for purchase

All photos in this article are available for purchase in various sizes as high resolution acrylic glass or canvas prints, and are available for licensing purposes for media and marketing/promotional material. The photos you see here have been compressed for optimal online user experience, which means we've intentionally reduced the file size and quality of each image to ensure the pages you visit load faster.

Thanks for reading

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. The Surf Life Saving Clubs (SLSC's) of Australia have played a pivotal role in the safety of Australia's coastline for over 100 years, and their efforts should be celebrated and supported.