Australia was the country where Voluntary Surf Life Saving was born in the year 1906. Subsequently, it has spread to other parts of the world such as Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and America.
While originally started to save lives, surf lifesaving has now become a competitive. Beaches throughout the world have lifesavers offering bathers protection on holidays, public holidays and weekends. These volunteers constantly patrol the beaches.
Members of the public appreciate what these volunteers do in order to keep them safe. Not only are they on beaches, they also service bathers at swimming pools and lakes. Some lifesavers are professionals who are paid by local government to provide these vital services on a full time basis. Besides rescue work, they are on hand to offer first aid and related advice.
A patrol captain is responsible for managing the people who volunteer their time in order to keep the beaches safe. A roster will be drawn up for the lifeguards who give their time free to keep bathers safe in any swimming environment.
Training to become a volunteer lifeguard is extensive and one cannot be a lifeguard without training and certification. The various life saving clubs offer training and certificates. The Bronze Medallion is mandatory and is also known as a Certificate II in public safety and aquatic rescue. This extensive course covers all aspects of life guarding work and includes: Patrolling in a power craft, occupational health and safety, different terrains of beaches, wave patterns, currents, resuscitation, first aid, communication, radio communication, different rescue methods and other aspects of rescue work. Once the volunteer has completed and passed the course, they are able to become a lifeguard.
A variety of equipment is used to assist with the patrolling of beaches and in life saving missions. To accommodate hazards that are part of difficult environments, many types of equipment are available to the lifesavers. The equipment includes rescue boards, oxygen equipment, wave runners (jet skis) and all terrain vehicles.
There is an ongoing need for people who are looking at performing the selfless act of becoming involved in Voluntary Surf Life Saving.