Royal Life Saving Society Australia
The Royal Life Saving Society of Australia (RLSSA) has been serving Australia for over 120 years and is the leading water safety, swimming and lifesaving education organisation in Australia. It is active all over Australia. Its branches, members, volunteers, trainers and lifesavers are found in almost all communities. RLSSA provides courses in water safety, lifesaving and resuscitation.
The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) was founded at its inaugural meeting in England on 3 January 1891 to combat a high drowning toll. The first Australian Branch was formed in Sydney in 1894 (New South Wales Branch) and the movement soon spread to all States. In July 1938, during a conference in Melbourne, it was unanimously decided that the Surf Life Saving Association, now known as Surf Life Saving Australia, control all surf beaches around Australia, and that the RLSSA control all bays, inlets, rivers, pools, etc.
In subsequent years the Society focused its attention on water safety education and rescue training for inland areas, and particularly for school children. In the immediate pre and post Second World War era the Bronze Medallion was included in many secondary school physical education programs.
After trialing a program in a number of States and Territories, the Society launched the "Swim and Survive" program in 1982. The program was so well structured and in demand from teachers, it resulted in over 1 million awards being taken in just two years.
In addition to these developments, The Royal Life Saving Society Australia developed a world-class lifeguarding program, particularly for pools, during the early 1990s. The Pool Lifeguard Program is now widely recognised as the qualification for those supervising others in and around inland waters.
Over one million Australian's undertake a Royal Life Saving course or program every year. Over five million Australians have achieved their Bronze Medallion since its inception, and over 10 million have learnt their essential water safety skills through Swim and Survive.
Royal Life Saving is Australia’s largest provider of water safety education. Its programs are delivered in schools, pools and community centres daily. They are designed to build awareness of dangers in aquatic environments and to arm the community with lifesaving skills used in both prevention and rescue.
The key education programs include:
RLSSA's key training programs include;
- Resuscitation (CPR)CPR
- First Aid and Emergency Care
- Community Recreation
- Pool Operations
Royal Life Saving has a proud history of developing health promotion programs targeting groups such as:
- Remote Indigenous Communities
- Rural and Regional Communities
- Refugees and recent arrivals
- Older Australians
- Children under five
prevents children from drowning through the promotion of four simple messages:
- Supervise your child
- Restrict your child’s access to water
- Familiarise your child with water
- Learn resuscitation
Aquatic risk management
Ensuring the development of safety guidelines and risk management systems for all aquatic environments is essential in supporting a water safe community.
RLSSA's key aquatic risk management activities include:
- Guidelines for Safe Pool Operation
- Guidelines for Water Safety
- Aquatic Facility Safety Assessments
- Lifeguarding training systems
- Management consultancy
Sport and participation
RLSSA has an established sport participation pathway that provides regular opportunities for lifesavers from community level to elite. The sport of pool lifesaving tests a lifesaver’s skills in rescue, accident prevention and emergency care.
The athlete, coach and officials lifesaving pathway includes:
- Club and School Competition
- Regional Competition
- Junior Provincial/State Competition
- Senior Provincial/State Competition
- National Competition
- International Competition
Every year approximately 250 people drown in Australian waters, a tragic and preventable fact that affects all communities. Royal Life Saving is committed to eliminating drowning. RLSSA works with government, industry, the corporate sector and the community to achieve this goal. Along with industry partners, including the Australian Government RLSSA has developed the Australian Water Safety Strategy 2008-2011.
RLSSA's research capacity includes:
- Drowning and injury related research
- Program effectiveness and evaluation
- Management of internal research activities
- Partnering in research projects
Royal Life Saving actively implements a community development model that focuses on:
- Community engagement and communication
- Community participation and programming
- Training, employment and leadership development
- Sound project management and evaluation methodologies
Community projects aim to build local opportunities for local people and target a range of health, social and economic issues. These issues have included:
- Populations at risk of drowning
- Use of aquatic facilities
- High levels of chronic disease
- Youth diversion
- Employment and training pathways
RLSSA is active in a range of communities including; Indigenous communities, rural and remote communities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, refugee communities, second and third generation arrivals.
RLSSA is a member of the International Life Saving Federation, a network of lifesaving agencies from across the world who share a commitment to drowning prevention.
Increasingly RLSSA's skills and expertise are being utilised to assist the international communities most in need. Access to drowning prevention programs simply hasn’t been available in most parts of Asia and the Pacific. The very mechanisms that allow Australians to monitor the level of drowning deaths are non-existent in most parts of the region, with no formal births and deaths register and therefore no effective measurement system for Governments to use to flag current and emerging health and public safety issues, including drowning.
With generations of expertise to offer, the Royal Life Saving Society of Australia has spent the last decade steadily increasing its support and assistance to countries in Asia and the Pacific. The range of that activity has included providing equipment and access to manuals and training advice, as well as sending some of Australia’s top life saving experts to train the trainers, sharing world’s best practice in water safety.
RLSSA has volunteered assistance to Bangladesh, China, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines and Vietnam. RLSSA is one of the Australian Partner Organisations to AusAID's Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program.
- Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth
- International Lifesaving Federation
- The Alliance for Safe Children
- The Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh
- Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development
RLSSA is also a member of the following Australian organisations:
- Confederation of Australian Sport
- The Australian Council for Teachers of Swimming and Water Safety (AUSTSWIM)
- Aquatic and Recreation Institute (ARI)
- Australian Amusement Leisure and Recreation Association Inc (AALARA)
- The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation Inc (ACHPER)
- Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC)
- Australian Water Safety Council
- Royal Life Saving Society UK
- Royal Life Saving Society of Canada
- Surf Life Saving Australia
- Ithaca–Caloundra City Life Saving Club