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Wollongong City Council

Stage 2

Welcome to Stage 2 of Wollongong City Council's Surf Sense education program.

Success criteria

By the end of this session, Stage 2 students will be able to:

  • Identify Wollongong City Council Lifeguards and volunteer Surf Lifesavers and describe their roles.
  • Identify a range of hazards, risks and their consequences, and mitigation strategies at the beach.
  • Identify beach and surf safety signs and tools.
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic beach, surf and water rescue processes and procedures.
  • Describe environmental issues at the beach, and role they can play in managing them.

Visual resources

Course outline

Surf Sense Stage 2

0 - 5 min


  • Introduce ourselves. We can expand on what beach we work at and why we are there.
  • Ask the class: What is your favourite beach in Wollongong?
  • Tell students there will be time to share stories at the end of the presentation.

Slide 1

Acknowledgement of Country

  • “I would like to pay my respect and acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of Dharawal Country, the land on which we meet. I would like to pay my respect to Elders past, present and emerging. I would also like to extend my respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people present here today.”
  • Try to personalise Acknowledgement. For example, what do you appreciate about living and working on Dharawal Country?

Slide 2

Learning intention and success criteria

  • Outline the learning intention and success criteria for the session (see above). We will come back to these at the end of the session to see if we have met them.

Slide 3

Overview of Wollongong City Council Lifeguard Service - video

  • Play the video clip.
  • Explain that the video covers key messages in today's session.

Slide 4

If video does not play in-screen, you can view it on YouTube

Wollongong's patrolled beaches

  • Explain that we cover 44 kilometres of coastline and have 17 patrolled beaches.
  • Note that all beaches are open from September school holidays to the end of the April school holidays.
  • Notify class that North Wollongong beach is open 12 months of the year.
  • Explain that when the flags are up you will see Lifeguards or Lifesavers.

Slide 5

6 - 10 min

Lifeguards and Lifesavers – how to identify them and describe their roles

  • Describe Wollongong City Council Lifeguard uniform.

Slide 6

  • Describe the Surf Lifesaver uniform.
  • Explain the difference between Lifeguards and Lifesavers.
  • Describe the similarities between Lifeguards and Lifesavers – we perform the same service to the community.

Slide 7

  • Describe the different roles of a lifeguard using the pictures as prompts.
  • This slide allows us to explain that we are friendly and approachable – We are here to help.
  • We offer first aid, wheelchairs, information and should be viewed as the police of the beach, we are always happy to assist.
  • We encourage people to come up, say hi and tell us a story.

Slide 8

Preparing for the beach - sun safety

  • Explain the importance of preparing for the beach.
  • Emphasize the need to apply sun cream before coming to the beach.
  • Point out all the sun measures in the scene. Hats, rash vest, sunglasses, beach shirts, wetsuit, towel and the umbrella for shade.

Slide 9

  • Ask the class: What has happened to this person?
  • Explain the possible consequences of not applying sun protection measures.
  • What should he have done? Be prepared for the beach and reapplied sunscreen during the day.

Slide 10

10 - 20 min

Hazards, risks and mitigations – signs and flags at the beach

  • Describe the sign – what the different elements mean.
  • Ask the class: What is the most important sign you should look for when you go to the beach? (Answer: red and yellow flags)

Slide 11

  • Describe what the red and yellow flags look like.
  • Ask the class: What could happen if you don’t swim between the flags?
  • Explain why you should swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Explain that you will be supervised while swimming between the flags.

Slide 12
Slide 13

  • Ask the class: Who knows what the black and white flags are for?
  • Explain what the black and white flags mean.
  • Explain that bodyboards and soft boards for beginners are allowed in flags.
  • Explain that if someone is learning on a hard surfboard they should go and see the Lifeguards. Depending on conditions, Lifeguard will point out a suitable area for them to learn while still allowing the Lifeguard to keep supervision.

Slide 14

  • Ask the class: What does this sign mean?
  • This sign tells you the beach is closed.
  • Reiterate the key message: No Flags, No Swim.
  • If you do happen to get into trouble in the water, remember to ‘Stay Calm and Raise an Arm’. This could be for many different reasons like getting a cramp in your leg or seeing someone near you in trouble.
  • Ask the class: If you see someone in the water on an unpatrolled beach with their arm raised like this, what should you do? (Answer: Call 000)

Slide 15
Slide 16
Slide 17

21 - 25 min

Hazards, risks and mitigations - what is a rip?

  • Play the video about rips

Slide 18

  • Explain that the safest looking place to swim is often not. Detail no breaking waves, the long running waves on the sand bank and the deep water.
  • Explain other things that tell us where rips are such as sand being churned up, debris floating backwards, or strange small waves popping up that never actually break.

Slide 19

  • Explain that the floating/fading/pulsing arrows demonstrate the water's movement. The red arrows show water going out to the ocean.
  • Detail how the green arrows are the water returning to shore and how this can help you if you are ever stuck in a rip.

Slide 20

26 - 35 min

Hazards, risks and mitigations - can you identify a rip?

These images are to stimulate participation with the class.

  • Ask the class: Can you point out where the rips are? Point out the dangers.
  • Inform the class of what type of rips they are and what their characteristics are.
  • Mention that staying calm and raising an arm will attract attention, and by knowing what the water is doing the person in trouble will know that all is safe, reassuring them to stay calm.
  • Ask the class: What should you do if you get caught in a rip? (Build context for the next slide).

Slide 21
Slide 22
Slide 23

Hazards, risks and mitigations - getting caught in a rip

  • Reiterate the message: If you get caught in a rip, stay calm and raise an alarm.
  • Explain that if a swimmer is swimming in the flags a Lifeguard will normally already see that someone is going to be in trouble before they actually realise it.
  • Refer back to how water moves and why a troubled swimmer should rely on that information to stay calm.
  • If staying afloat is difficult, take time to raise an arm, rest and then try again.
  • Ask the class: Would you wave to a lifeguard when you are in the water? Why or why not?

Slide 24

Hazards, risks and mitigations - surf rescue processes and procedures

  • Explain the surf rescue procedure
  • Explain the equipment that lifeguards have that enables us to do our job.
  • Explain how a board rescue works and what you should do if ever rescued.
  • Explain other rescue equipment and methods that may be used.
  • Ask the class: Has anyone been rescued by a lifeguard? If a story comes forward, focus on the positives and congratulate the person on the things done right and their ability to stay calm.

Slide 25

Hazards, risks and mitigations - getting stung by a bluebottle

  • Here’s another hazard in the water: a bluebottle.
  • Ask the class: Has anyone been stung by a bluebottle? What did it feel like?
  • Explore and explain bluebottles and the treatment if ever stung.

Slide 26

Hazards, risks and mitigations - rock fishing

  • Here’s another hazard at the beach: rock fishing.
  • What are the possible dangers of rock fishing?
  • Did you know that on average 8 people die from rock fishing in NSW every year?
  • Explain safety precautions: you should wear a life jacket when rock fishing.

Slide 27

36 - 40 min

Environmental issues at the beach and the role students can play in managing them

  • Ask the class: When you leave the beach at the end of the day, what should you take with you?
  • Take your rubbish with you.

Slide 28

  • Explain that you will be showing another short clip and then ask some questions.
  • Play the video.

Slide 29

  • Ask the questions on the slide:

    What is the message in the video?
    What will happen to your rubbish if you leave it on the beach?
    What can you do to help our oceans and the ocean animals?

Slide 30

41 - 45 min

Summary and wrap up

  • Ask the class: What are the 4 most important things to remember about beach safety?
  • Answer:

    Be prepared.
    No flags, no swim.
    Stay calm and raise an arm.
    If you have a question or need help, talk to a Lifeguard.

Slide 31

  • Let’s see if we have met the success criteria for the session. Are you able to:

    Identify Wollongong City Council Lifeguards and Surf Lifesavers and describe their roles?

    Identify a range of hazards, risks and their consequences, and mitigation strategies at the beach?

    Identify beach and surf safety signs and tools?

    Demonstrate understanding of basic beach, surf and water rescue processes and procedures?

    Describe environmental issues at the beach, and role you can play in managing them?

Slide 32

  • Ask the class: Does anyone have a question?
  • Ask the class: Does anyone have a story to share?

Slide 33

Give feedback on this course

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During the last 5 minutes of the session, please use the button below to complete an online survey. It takes about 4 minutes to complete.