28 March 2020


The SLSNSW Board convened on Thursday 26 March 2020 to discuss the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the stricter restrictions announced by Government and in return reconsider the position SLSNSW would maintain for the remainder of the 2019/20 patrolling season.

Video of message from SLSNSW President George Shales 

Effective immediately, all patrols by volunteer surf lifesavers on NSW beaches will be cancelled for the remainder of the 2019/20 season.

This unprecedented decision has been made to protect the safety and welfare of volunteer surf lifesavers from potential infection by the COVID-19 virus and to support the Government’s position in discouraging large gatherings of people on beaches across NSW.

SLSNSW will attempt to maintain adequate lifesaving response capability along the NSW coastline through;

  • Emergency Club Call Out Teams that are to be rescue ready for any emergency response and taskings;

  • Enhanced Support Operations (inclusive of Duty Officers and Rescue Watercraft) that will provide a roving visible presence ready to respond to emergency incidents;

  • Continued Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) drone surveillance operations, with UAV pilots monitoring beach conditions, marine creature activity and assisting with search and rescue operations. SLSNSW UAV operators can work alone, adhering to social distancing guidelines, while providing very effective beach and coastline surveillance; and

  • The SLSNSW State Operations Centre (SurfCom) will continue to operate and coordinate all emergency responses through the SLSNSW Emergency Response System. SurfCom will also continue to provide radio and incident support to both Branch Support Operations and UAV surveillance operations.

In summary, these arrangements will be maintained until the cessation of the 2019/20 season, commencing this Saturday 28 March 2020:

  • Clubs are strongly encouraged to restrict surf club access to their members, other than Emergency Club Callout Teams, Branch Support Operations personnel who require access to clubs where equipment is stored, lifeguard services and UAV operators whom also operate from the club.

  • Clubs are also requested to consult with their Branches to ensure that any Support Operation equipment housed within their clubhouse is easily accessible.

  • The SLSNSW Board would like to thank all Branches, Clubs and members for your continued patience and professionalism during these difficult and unprecedented times.