COVID – 19 Update from SLSWA

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates & Resources

SLSWA is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our members and, with the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency continuing to escalate, we feel it is important to provide as much information to you that is relevant in your role as lifesavers, emergency first responders and community members.

PAGE LAST UPDATED: Tuesday, 7 April 2020 at 9.00am


7/04/2020 | Find the facts: the Department of Health has released a comprehensive FAQs information sheet, answering common questions about COVID-19 including what it is, how it spreads, if you should get tested, who is most at risk and if you should attend public gatherings. We hope all members will find this useful.

7/04/2020 | Member and Community training update: Resuscitation during COVID-19 

“The Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR) has released the following guidelines for resuscitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document is relevant to SLS members who may need to provide CPR to someone with COVID-19. The key changes to resuscitation guidelines is the risk to the rescuers. SLS members, who find themselves having to perform CPR on a COVID-19 patient, are advised to heed the advice of ANZCOR.”

6/04/2020 | Helpful infographics for the workplace: What to do if a worker has COVID-19 & Five practical steps employers can take to minimise risk

31/03/2020 | SLSA Circular 64 – Skills Maintenance, First Aid and CPR expiry extension dates as a result of COVID-19 and the resulting current restrictions on training. 

31/03/2020 | Official WA Government Resources and Updates. Further information on COVID-19: Stay Informed

Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play

Join the governments WhatsApp Channel on iOs or Android

30/03/2020 | Australian Government Department of Health Free Online COVID-19 course

The Department of Health ( has partnered with Aspen Medical in developing a free e-learning course for COVID-19 infection control training.

The online course takes approximately 30 minutes and upon completion you will be issued with an Acknowledgement of Completion certificate.


27/03/2020 | Memo to Clubs | Work practice guidelines with respect to COVID-19

This memo is for club Directors of Lifesaving and Patrol Captains outlining guidelines specifically with regards to safety on patrol.

27/03/2020 | SLSWA Lifesaving note to clubs

25/03/2020 | Memo to Clubs | COVID-19: Small Business Support

This memo outlines a range of business and financial support options available to small businesses, including Surf Life Saving Clubs.

25/03/2020 | Notes for SLS entities on conduct of AGMS

23/03/2020 | Updated Advice for all Clubs as follows:

Limits on public gatherings

Venues where large number of people are in once place can increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. This applies to all Surf Life Saving club gatherings, surf sports events, SLS award ceremonies and social events. These closures gives our clubs time to understand fully the social distancing requirements.

The following facilities, applicable to SLSWA clubs, were restricted from opening from midday (AEST) from 23 March 2020

Gym, kitchen areas, SLS club venues

These facilities are now restricted from opening, and this applies to all SLS clubs with a gym/fitness centre. These facilities will be closed to all members, including members of the community who use the gym and/or kitchen areas at SLS clubs.

In addition, SLS clubs should not hold any personal training, surf sports training/coaching or fitness bootcamps on the beach.

Services on the beach will remain open to essential Lifesaving patrols only.

Venue Hire and Functions

Club venues are now closed and will no longer be made available to use and hire out for any function (excluding funerals, where this is limited to no more than 10 people and the 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed).

All upcoming functions at SLS club venues should be cancelled or postponed.


All fundraising activities such as doorknocks, BBQs and fundraising in shopping centre environment should be abandoned until health authority advice is amended.

Member and Community training

All training programs, including Bronze Medallion and First Aid courses should be postponed until further notice. Advice from the Australian Resuscitation Council is that teaching of first aid and resuscitation courses should be postponed until the COVID-19 pandemic has abated and expert consensus opinion is that there is no longer an unnecessary risk involved in participating in a course.

Nipper and Club Surf Sports Events

SLSWA now advises that all Nipper programs/events be cancelled as per the new health and public gathering advice from the health authority.

Club events such as carnivals, where large numbers of people will be present, should be cancelled. This includes ocean swims and other community based events. All Club presentation and awards functions and all club social events should be cancelled or postponed.

23/03/2020 | SLSA Free Online COVID-19 Course

SLSA eLearning provider etrainu has created a COVID-19: What It Is, How to Prevent Spread online learning awareness course. It is now available for free on the SLSA learning management system for all members. To access the course through eLearning, please login to the SLSA Members Area or CLICK HERE.

It will take about 5-7 minutes to complete, is interactive and suitable for ages 10+. There is no award issued following completion of the course, and no assessment involved in the course, but for awareness only.



SLSWA has undertaken measures to separate employees to improve social distancing by changing work practices. As of the 17th March 2020, the SLSWA workforce has been split into two teams. One team will work from the office and one team will work remotely on alternate weeks. All staff and programs remain available for contact by telephone or email to provide clubs and members with assistance. While these work practices remain in place, access to the SLSWA office is a restricted to non-essential visitors and can only occur via appointment.


SLSWA considers the conduct of patrols as an essential activity. At this time, SLSWA delivered lifeguard, helicopter, jet ski and drone patrols will continue. SurfCom will also continue to function.


All SLSWA planned events up to June 30, 2020 have now been cancelled as they are considered non-essential. This includes:

  • 21 – 22 March – SunSmart WA Lifesaving Championships
  • 28 – 29 March – SunSmart WA Senior Surf Life Saving Championships
  • 28 March – Life & Sporting Hall of Fame Member Dinner
  • 4 April – Surf Life Saving WA Nipper & Youth Awards presented by the Scottish Masonic Charitable Foundation of WA
  • 8 May – Coastal Bravery Awards
  • 13 June – President & Member Advisory Forums
  • 13 June – Surf Life Saving WA Awards of Excellence
  • 27 – 28 June – Surf Life Saving WA Pool Rescue Championships


In issuing the following guidelines for clubs, Surf Life Saving WA (SLSWA) advises clubs to make decisions on activities based on whether the activity is considered essential or non-essential. At this time, clubs should consider discontinuing any non-essential activity.


SLSWA considers the conduct of patrols as an essential activity. At this time, SLSWA advises that club patrol obligations should remain unchanged. All other states are also continuing to provide patrol services. SLSWA understand that if normal protocols are followed there is a low likelihood of risk of infection from undertaking patrolling duties however, it is strongly recommended that patrolling services enact social distancing measures to reduce the likelihood of viral transmission.

Visit for up to date patrols in WA.

Patrol Personnel Numbers

Patrol captains are encouraged to be flexible with patrol rostering and may consider scaling the number of patrolling members down to reduce the risk of exposure to members.

If changes to practices are implemented by club patrols, then SurfCom and the key contact at the local government should be advised that the club is moving to an amended practice.

Patrols may wish to consider:

  • Reducing the number of members on patrol at any one time (e.g. 4 – 6 people);
  • Distancing the number of patrol members in close proximity (e.g. 2 x patrol shelter, 1 x tower, 2 x roving) and undertake more frequent rotations of task and locations
  • Adjust the length of time each member is required to be on patrol (e.g. 2 hours instead of 4).
  • Consider the composition of each patrol and the available skill sets.

SLSWA recommends that clubs do not penalise any patrol member who is unable (due to self-isolation, illness or obligation as a carer) or does not feel comfortable attending patrol.

Recommended Actions for Patrol Captains Dealing with Suspected Cases of Coronavirus

  • Continue to apply normal protocols and use of PPE as per existing protocols with all patients.
  • If a patrol member is not confident they are adequately protected from a patient that requires resuscitation then patrol members should consider the application of compression only CPR. Mouth- mouth, mouth-nose and mouth-mask should be avoided.
  • If a patrol has a member with the skill set (ART-Aid or ARTC) they should then move from compression only CPR to using the bag-valve mask at compression rates of 30:2 with oxygen. This is considered preferable to ensure delivery of oxygen while avoiding mouth-mouth, mouth-nose, or mouth-mask.
  • To support the application bag-valve mask CPR, the composition of available skill sets on patrols may need to assessed and adjusted accordingly. Regular gear checks before, during and after patrol is a requirement of current patrol procedures.
  • If a patrol member exhibits flu like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing) and/or if it is established that the patrolling member has a high temperature over 38 degrees, withdraw them from activities immediately and ask them to self-isolate.
  • Patrol Captains should notify SurfCom by phone so the number of members affected can be recorded and tracked. DO NOT broadcast information regarding suspected cases of people with Coronavirus over the radio network
  • DO NOT treat suspected persons with Coronavirus in surf club first aid rooms or other areas of the club, unless there is a dedicated room and the surf lifesaver is wearing appropriate PPE.
  • Patrolling members who have been directly exposed to confirmed Coronavirus cases should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water and follow existing guidelines as issued by health authorities, then self-isolate and seek medical attention.


SLSWA recommends that Support Operations activities remain unchanged and clubs and relevant members should maintain call-out team preparedness.


The Federal Government has ordered the cancellation of mass gatherings of more than 500 people in an outside setting and 100 in an indoor setting.

All SLSWA planned events up to June 30, 2020 have now been cancelled as they are considered non-essential.

SLSWA strongly recommends that clubs consider cancelling Nipper events where large numbers of children and adults will be present – even if in the outdoor setting there will be fewer than 500 people in attendance. SLSWA is aware that many clubs have already taken this action.

Club events such as carnivals, where large numbers of people will be present, should be postponed or cancelled. This includes ocean swims and other community based events. Club presentation and awards functions and large club social events should be postponed.

For clubs where particular events may not attract in excess of the maximum limits imposed by the government, it is still strongly recommended that clubs consider postponing these events until advised otherwise.


At this time, with state and national event cancellations and, in most parts, the operational patrol season almost at an end, all training activities may be considered non-essential.

While training programs, including Bronze Medallion and First Aid courses can still be delivered, they should only do so if they are considered essential. SLSWA is currently awaiting the issue of a notice from the Australian Resuscitation Council and the Training Accreditation Council (WA) regarding training and application of CPR. The application of social distancing practices is encouraged.

The First Aid Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is currently discussing the reasonable adjustment for first aid training (e.g. allowing compressions-only to achieve competence in the resuscitation Unit of Competency). Please download the Advice for SLSWA Trainers and Assessors


Fundraising activities should be reviewed where the activity could expose members to increased risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. Activities such as doorknocks and fundraising BBQs in high-traffic shopping centre environments should be postponed.


Infection control for members is already an integral part of member safety however, extra vigilance in cleaning practices is required at this time.

Regular disinfection of frequently touched surfaces is encouraged along with the placement of alcohol based hand sanitiser. Clubs are also encouraged to ensure sufficient supplies of soap are available so regular hand washing can occur.

The Safer Club Guidelines on infectious disease provide relevant information. Section 3.12 on club gyms and 3.14 on infection control are particularly relevant to preventing the spread of Coronavirus.

The guidelines are available on the SLSA portal.


Federal and state health departments advise that those most at risk from the Coronavirus are the elderly and people with existing health issues. SLSWA strongly encourages all clubs to implement risk management strategies to limit the potential impact on older members, and members with current health issues, by implementing social distancing and self-isolation practices as advised by health authorities.

Clubs are also encouraged to complete frequent welfare checks with vulnerable members as part of sticking together and helping each other through.


If clubs wish to continue to engage in the hire of venues or facilities, they should ensure an increased level of hygiene and sanitation is observed in common areas to ensure the safety of club members and visitors.

Functions or gatherings with more than 500 (outside)/100 (inside) must not proceed.

SLSWA strongly recommend clubs consider postponing these events until health authority advice is amended.



Public visiting the beach does not fall into the category of organised mass public gathering, as such there is no legislation surrounding this activity. However, the advice from all agencies has been to practice good basic hygiene and be conscious of preventative measures such as social distancing. 

  • Pay attention to hand hygiene. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, and avoid touching your face.
  • Practice cough etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or using a tissue. Dispose of the tissue into a bin and then wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid close contact with others, such as touching, shaking hands, hugging and kissing
  • Regularly wipe down surfaces.
  • Face masks are not recommended for use by members of the public, although anyone who wants to be cautious can of course choose to wear one.
  • If you feel unwell and develop a fever or shortness of breath, a cough, sore throat or respiratory illness do not come to work, surf club, patrols or events and contact your doctor.


25/03/2020 Memo to Clubs (Financial)

25/03/2020 Notes for SLS entities on conduct of AGMS

20/03/2020 Beach patrols to continue amidst Coronavirus crisis

18/03/2020 COVID-19 SLSWA Guidelines for Clubs

18/03/2020 COVID-19 Advice for SLSWA Trainers & Assessors

17/03/2020 Member Update on COVID-19 including event cancellations

13/03/2020 SLSA Cancellation of the Aussies 2020

13/03/2020 Member Alert: Cancellation of this weekend’s SunSmart WA Nipper Surf Life Saving Championships

12/03/2020 SLSA Bulletin: Novel Coronavirus – UPDATE to membership


Please contact your surf club for more information.

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