Each patrol team is lead by a patrol captain. Patrol captains are selected for their leadership skills, maturity, and lifeguarding skills. They are responsible for ensuring minimum patrol standards are met in accordance with the clubs Patrol Operations manual.
As of November 2011 all Patrol Captains must hold a Senior Lifeguard Award - Patrol Captain. To achieve this award they must have completed a minimum of two seasons patrolling, hold a Marine VHF Certificate and a level one First Aid Certificate and attended a one day Patrol Captains workshop.
Patrol Captains responsibilities include:
- Making contact with their patrol members during the week prior to their assigned patrol date to ensure that patrolling members are available.
- Ensuring sufficient lifeguards patrol on the allotted day.
- Holding a briefing at the start of patrol
- Assigning tasks to patrolling members
- Selecting the safe patrol area
- Managing any incidents as they arise
- Completing all patrol captains report forms and incident forms
- Ensuring that the minimum patrol standards are met at all times in accordance with the Patrol Operations Manual
- Ensuring all equipment is accounted for, washed and stored correctly
- Holding a debrief at the end of patrol
Each patrol member is responsible for the following;
- Practice the basic principles of prevention, early recognition, rescues while on patrol
- Ensuring name, start time and finish time is logged on the Patrol Captains Report form
- Ensure that swimmers are advised at all times to swim between the red and yellow patrol flags
- Where hazards exist, swimmers that enter the water outside the flagged area are warned of these dangers and hazards and advised to swim between the red and yellow patrol flags
- Be polite and courteous when engaging in dialogue with members of the public
- All patrolling members will ensure that they wear the SLSNZ approved lifeguard uniform at all times on patrol
- Not leave the patrol unless authorised by the Patrol Captain
- Always carry a rescue tube and swim fins when on patrol at the water's edge
- Advise members of the public that the patrol is closing either (a) conditions dictate closing of the beach or (b) at the end of the patrol day
- Patrol members shall ensure the beach is in a safe condition prior to setting up the patrol. In addition to a safe swimming area, members should pay attention to the removal or minimising of hazards such as broken glass bottle, needles, branches, floating debris, animals, holes etc
- A patrol member shall be stationed in an elevated position at all times during the patrol when swimmers are in the water. When a beach user enters the water, one set of life guard eyes must remain on the patrolled area at all times and a lifeguard with tube and fins must be stationed at the water's edge. Never leave the flagged area without observation
- Patrol flags and equipment must be positioned as close to the water's edge as possible and will be moved with the tide during the patrol
- All patrol members shall ensure that if there is a swimmer in water between the flags, at least one lifeguard is to be patrolling the water's edge between the flags
- Patrol members will keep the tower, club house and gear shed clean at all times
- All members will take responsibility for reporting accurate information through diligent completion of patrol and incident forms.
It is the responsibility of the individual patroller to find a replacement to cover their patrol if they are unable to attend due to other commitments. These replacements need to hold the same qualifications e.g. IRB crewperson. The patrol roster has all patrollers contact details in it to assist in this. You then must notify your patrol captain with the name of your replacement.
- Surf Lifesaving New Zealand requires three patrol audits to be completed on every surf lifesaving club in New Zealand each patrolling season. These are simply a health check on the individual clubs patrol capability and provides assurance to SLSNZ that clubs are meeting their agreed standards as per the Patrol Operations Manual that has been signed off by SLSNZ.
- Audits are conducted by experienced lifeguards.
- On the day of audits all clubs in the area will be visited. Auditors will arrive at the beach unannounced and will survey the beach area and patrollers. At this point auditors are looking at life guard positioning, uniforms, tower or club house flags and beach flag positioning. Auditors will then announce their presence to the Patrol Captain for the day and the main section of the audit will commence. During the course of the audit a rescue scenario will be actioned and auditors will assess the response and capability of the lifeguards.
- At the end of the audit the clubs Patrol Captain will be given a score out of 72 and any suggested remedial actions will be discussed with the Patrol Captain and a copy of the audit provided to both the club and SLSNZ.