Become a Lifeguard
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The Surf Lifeguard Award certifies that the holder has the basic skills and knowledge to be a Surf Lifeguard. This is the entry-level qualification to be a patrolling member. The Surf Lifeguard Award is the first step on the Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguard pathway.

Next Surf Lifeguard Award Exam
15th October 2022

Please email to register.

See below for more information on the Surf Lifeguard Award.

Surf Lifeguard Award

Pre-requisites: 14 years of age or above, current member of a surf life saving club 

Duration: Variable depending on competence and instruction structure, 2-8 weeks 

Delivered by: Surf Life Saving Club instructors, examined by local examiners 

Who should complete it: Anyone interested in getting started as a Surf Lifeguard

Candidate requirements: Complete all tests, practical tasks and theory successfully 

Exam components

  • 400m pool swim under 9 minutes
  • Run-Swim-Run in the surf
  • Tube rescue in the pool and surf
  • First Aid and CPR
  • Communication signals
  • Radio communication
  • Theory questions
  • Rescue tows and releases

Topics covered 

  • Introduction and risk management
  • The physical environment 
  • CPR
  • First Aid 
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Surf Lifeguard skills and knowledge 
  • Communication 


At the completion of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of health and safety issues relevant to Surf Life Saving members.
  2. Describe the features of the surf environment.
  3. Identify and describe the roles and responsibilities of a Surf Lifeguard.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of effective communication.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of effective scanning techniques and victim identification.
  6. Perform retrieval of underwater objects.
  7. Perform releases and tows in an aquatic environment.
  8. Demonstrate Surf Life Saving signal communication and demonstrate knowledge of graphic communication.
  9. Communicate using a two-way radio.
  10. Perform a tube rescue.
  11. Provide resuscitation (no unit standards).
  12. Provide first aid (no unit standards).