The origins of surf lifesaving can be traced back to the actions of Mr William Gocher who, in September 1902 at Manly Beach, defied the law by bathing during the prohibited daylight hours. His action and similar actions by other people forced authorities to confront the issue of daylight bathing and, when these laws were repealed, swimming at the beach began to grow rapidly into a national pastime.

As surf bathing became popular, its dangers just as rapidly became apparent. Small groups of experienced, regular swimmers and surfers began to form themselves into lifesaving bodies to voluntarily help people who needed rescuing from an unfamiliar environment.

As these clubs grew in size and number, an Association was needed to coordinate and regulate activities and share lifesaving knowledge and the first was the New South Wales Surf Bathing Association, formed on 18 October 1907. Its rapid growth and development, and the emergence of Surf Life Saving in all other states, lead to the modern, progressive organisation we have today - Surf Life Saving Australia.

Participation Pathways

Developed by Surf Life Saving Australia, explore our participation pathway to discover the exciting opportunities available at Surf Life Saving. This pathway will take you on a journey helping you discover: how to become involved in Surf Life Saving, how to join your local club, how to transition from one role to another, courses, qualifications and much more. Read More

What we do

Lifesaving Services for our Community

Surf lifesavers are highly trained volunteers and their prime responsibility is to prevent drowning and injury at the beach and the surrounding open waters where people love to swim and enjoy various forms of aquatic recreation such as surfing, boating, fishing, wind surfing, kite surfing and water skiing. 

Surf lifesavers fulfil this responsibility by supplying volunteer lifesaving services (Surf Rescue Patrols) at local beaches near their clubs. Read More

Search and Rescue Team 

The Search and Rescue (SAR) team offers a 24/7 marine rescue service for recreational boat users. Members are all highly skilled lifesavers that have undertaken advanced training in search and rescue techniques. Read More


Surf Life Saving NT is a registered provider of Australian Lifeguard Services - the largest provider of professional lifeguards in Australia. Read More


We love our sport and we participate in lots of activities and competitions at club, Territory and national levels.  Sport is very important to a Surf lifesaver because it promotes fitness and a healthy lifestyle - vitally important characteristics for anyone placing themselves in a rescue situation.

Our sports include beach events, board and ski paddling, swimming, surfboat rowing, the famous ironman race and much more. There are special lifesaving competitions for patrol teams and first aiders and of course there's always a place for more coaches and officials.

A highlight of the end of each season is the NT Championships. Read More

Junior Activities (Nippers & Cadets)

Every year around 60,000 boys and girls learn essential lifesaving and self-survival skills at their local Surf Club and its no different in the NT. Membership is booming as young members, aged 5-14, enjoy a wide range of lifesaving, sporting, environmental and social activities. Our Junior Activities are run by experienced surf lifesavers and qualified parents. Its not uncommon for the whole family to be involved! Read More


All active surf lifesavers, aged 15 years or more, must gain the Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue) before joining a Surf Rescue Patrol.  For new members, including those with an existing lifesaving qualification (First Aid Certificate, Royal Life Saving Bronze Medallion) you'll find this qualification interesting, challenging and rewarding. 

There are many more qualifications you can do including the Certificate III in Beach Management and the Certificate IV in Training & Assessment.  Our Trainers and Assessors dedicate a great deal of their time to help other members gain their qualifications and you can find detailed information on this website. Read More

Community Education and Events

Surf Lifesavers conduct training courses in lifesaving, first aid and emergency care as well as outdoor recreational activities for schools and community groups. Some of these activities are provided by our Lifesaving Academy while others are provided directly by clubs.

Leadership & Development

Surf Life Saving has a strong program of leadership and development programs that provide opportunities for members at club, Territory and national levels.  It starts with our juniors and continues through to an annual national Leadership Development Program and Leader's Conference.

Do yourself a favour - become a Surf Life Saver today!