Lifesaving Info


Background of Lifesaving SA
Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) is a registered member with the supreme sports body in the country, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) as well as the national Dept of Sports and Recreation (SRSA). We are also a long-standing member of the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), Commonwealth Lifesaving and the Royal Lifesaving Society. Lifesaving SA’s our core business however, is to provide a voluntary lifeguard service that benefits our communities and country at large. We have around 5500 members who perform voluntary lifeguard duties operating at 62 coastal (Surf) clubs and some 56 inland (Stillwater) clubs across South Africa.

Approximately 92340 rescues have been performed, and 3128 first aid cases have been attended to.  Lifesaving South Africa trains over 2000 life guards per year and has reached over 400 communities through our water safety education programmes.  Lifesaving SA has made a phenomenal contribution by ensuring that our popular bathing coastlines are drown-free zones. The indirect impact is that beaches remain safety havens for tourists and approximately 90% of our PDI life guards secure employment in municipalities, resorts and tourism and hospitality industries


  • We are involved in the training and qualification of our members from the age of 8 until they achieve their Lifeguard Award at the age of 18 years- an investment in 10 years of training, capacity and character building.
  • We contribute to the job creation opportunities of our members and by supplying 99% of professional lifeguards employed by municipalities; private lifeguard service providers; hotels; resorts (some abroad) and other recreational aquatic sites.
  • The Lifesaving movement makes a massive contribution towards tourism development and we are represented on the International Blue Flag Jury in SA which awards Blue Flag Beach Status in our country.
  • Lifesaving SA’s true value is seen in the fact that our organisation gives expression to the Letsima (Spirit of Volunteerism) Campaign that our State President often echoes to encourage youth to join, so that their communities benefit.  Many of our members go on to making a “career” in a range of emergency services..
Lifesaving SA’s Vision
Lifesaving South Africa’s vision is to be recognised as the world’s leading water safety organisation, which is accessible to all communities, and to be at the forefront in the development of aquatic skill, measured by competition, dynamic leadership and marketability.
Mission Statement of Lifesaving SA
Lifesaving South Africa is the acknowledged national aquatic safety authority, being a service and sporting organisation committed to providing life guarding services and the development of aquatic skills to all communities of South Africa.
Objectives of Lifesaving SA


  • Lifesaving South Africa has a presence around the country, ensuring that tourists and the general public experience “safe swimming”.
  • Lifesaving South Africa has a membership of over 5500, who patrol an excess of 100 000 hours of unpaid duty per annum across 120 clubs nationally and we have performed 86 327 rescues to date.
  • Our Lifesavers have also been responsible for providing First Aid, finding lost children and attending to Shark Victims

Water Safety Programmes

  • Water Safety Project – LSA has run water safety programmes for children and youth at the Inanda Dam and other areas.
  • The aim of the programme is to raise awareness about lifesaving, and empower children and youth with water safety knowledge, basic resuscitation training and lifesaving rescue techniques.

Partnerships with Stakeholders

  • Vodacom Netcare Sea Rescue Helicopter Service

Vodacom, Netcare 911, the National Sea Rescue Institute and Lifesaving South Africa have entered into a partnership, offering a Rescue helicopter service. Our partners play a vital role in the operations of this service. Lifesaving South Africa has seconded our National Helicopter Coordinator, Mr. James Ross, to co-ordinate the Rescue Helicopter Operation with a team of 80 of Lifesaving SA’s life guards. Our lifeguards are responsible for the actual rescues. The Netcare team is responsible for medical care. Vodacom has supplies emergency numbers.

  • Lifesaving South Africa & SAPS

LSA has a long-standing relationship with the South Africa Police Services. We train SAPS in lifeguarding, they undergo training and are assessed by independent assessors.  This project is hosted around the country.


Sport is an intrinsic aspect of Lifesaving and Lifesaving SA’s National Team currently holds 3rd place in international lifesaving competitions and are keen to defend or better this position. The national team is often selected to participate in the World Lifesaving Rescue Champs, the German Cup, the Tri-Nations and the Commonwealth Stillwater Lifesaving Championships



More About Lifesaving SA

Incident Protocol

Major Incident Reporting Protocol

In the event of an incident occurring at a venue officially patrolled by a Lifesaving South Africa voluntary duty member or duty squad or in a remote vicinity but attended to by members of the club/ duty squad while on duty the following reporting / investigative procedure must be adhered to.

Examples of reportable incidents are as follows but are not limited to

  • Confirmed death by drowning or unknown causes or a near drowning of a member of the bathing public within the lifeguard patrolled area.
  • Suspected drowning / disappearance of a member of the bathing public within patrolled area.
  • Retrieval of bodies from the water.
  • Injury to a member of the bathing public within patrolled area caused by the actions of a voluntary duty lifeguard in which case claims of medical and/or legal liability may be tested.
  • Injury to a voluntary duty lifeguard caused during or subsequent to the execution of his or her lifesaving duty either by accident, force of nature or violent act in which case claims of medical and/or legal liability may be tested.
  • Any resuscitation carried out by the club or its members, wherever it may occur, resulting from a call out made to the club

(to download the full report on incident protocols, please click here)


In Lifesaving South Africa we begin to teach the aspects of the safe use of the sea to our Nipper members from 8 years of age. On reaching the age of 14, these young people move into the Junior ranks of the Association where amongst the topics studied for their Junior Lifeguard Award, they take the first steps of learning about Lifesaving and Resuscitation. They learn how to recognise symptoms of bather distress, how to safely secure the patient to rapidly remove them from the water to dry land, and how to check for vital signs and where necessary perform basic CPR. This basic knowledge is added to when the Junior Lifeguard goes on to take the full Lifeguard award from the age of 16. Other awards are available both within and outside the movement to further add to this basic knowledge.

Helicopter Rescue

In March 2005 the Nokia helicopter sponsorship contract ended. Nokia Finland had taken over the marketing and distribution of their phones and had different ideas to the local distributor with regards to marketing. Nokia Finland chose to focus on music and fashion.

We approached a number of corporate to take over the sponsorship and had much interest but only Netcare911 gave serious commitment, although their budget alone was not sufficient. Together, the CEO of the NSRI, Ian Weinberg, and Dr Ryan Noach, CEO of Netcare911, managed to convince Vodacom to make up the deficit and thus the Vodacom Netcare911 Surf Rescue service, a three year sponsorship, was born. However the contract is between Vodacom, Netcare911 and the NSRI.

The VNSR service took to the skies in Dec 2005. The helicopter is dispatched through the Netcare 911 flight desk, activated by the public through the 082911 telephone number. The Netcare911 control room provides state of the art technology with satellite tracking of all helicopters and ambulances as well as the ability to locate the GPS coordinates of callers to speed up rescue crew’s response. In addition, Netcare911 has negotiated much faster and more powerful B2 Squirrel helicopters for Durban and Cape Town over the December period from Helimax. This has raised the Surf Rescue service to a higher level of efficiency.

In Cape Town, George, PE, and Margate, the crew consists of a Lifesaving South Africa rescue swimmer, an NSRI crewman, and a Netcare911 medic. In Durban Lifesaving South Africa assists the NSRI in staffing the crewman position as the NSRI have fewer crew in KZN. Each region is managed by a regional co-ordinating committee made up of a representative from each organization. These RCC’s then report to a NCC with the same representation. This transition was easiest in Cape Town as the crew there have an established working relationship with experienced NSRI helicopter crew. In all other regions the transition has been difficult but successful. Lifesaving South Africa has assisted the NSRI in KZN to train their crew in helicopter operations with the NSRI providing monthly training for Lifesaving South Africa and Netcare staff in swift water and sea rescue techniques. A consequence of the transition is that the Lifesaving South Africa heli crew stalwarts in Durban have retired. However there is still plenty interest from new crew members.

For any queries in your area, please contact your local representative.
They are as follows:
Durban             - James Ross          - 082 465 8280
Margate            - Steve Shomela     - 076 619 2324
PE                    - Mark Ackerman  - 082 809 0772
George             - Richard Botha     - 083 585 3339
Cape Town      - Johan Van Zyl     - 083 556 2663