Diversity & Inclusion

Surf Life Saving Sydney Northern Beaches acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which we gather, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Surf Life Saving is committed to having an inclusive & diverse membership that reflects our community. We are an all-inclusive organisation that protects, educates, prepares and embraces everyone, and the information below signposts to key areas of information.

In 2020 SLSSNB established a Diversity & Inclusion Working Group.  The D&IWG includes:

  • Emily Buckle, Chair (Dee Why SLSC)
  • Tracey Hare-Boyd (SLSSNB Branch President)
  • John Zdrilic (Manly SLSC)
  • Romilly Madew (Bilgola SLSC)
  • Saskia Clarke (Whale Beach SLSC)
  • Georgie Rowe (Collaroy SLSC)
  • Jana Letnic (Bilgola SLSC)


Why Diversity & Inclusion Matter

At SLSSNB, one of our strategic goals is to foster diversity and inclusion within our clubs. 

Research repeatedly shows organisations that are diverse and inclusive, are more engaged, creative and successful.

Diversity is about what makes each of us different – from our life experiences and beliefs to differences due to things like age, ability, cultural background, gender and sexuality. These differences shape our world view, our perspectives and our approach. 

Inclusion occurs when a diversity of people feel valued and respected and can then equally contribute these differing world views, perspectives and approaches.

Following are the links below for reference material for Clubs.

Sources SLSA, SLSNSW and SLS Sydney.


Diversity & Inclusion (SLSNSW)



Inclusion of people with disabilities is about providing access to a range of quality opportunities and options. Embracing diversity and creating greater awareness can lead to better inclusion of people with disabilities in sport.

SLSA Inclusive Beaches website aims to assists Surf Life Saving Clubs to support the inclusion of people of different abilities and backgrounds to join their local club and learn to be safe at the beach. Information on the types of inclusion programs and training available can be found on this page.

This list of NSW Clubs with inclusive activities shares information on club programs and who to contact for more information. Resources to support these clubs include:


Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders’

SLSA is committed to greater promotion and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within Surf Life Saving.

An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  This differs to a Welcome to Country which is only delivered by traditional owners.

The NSW Club Listing Map outlines the Traditional Nation of the land on which our Surf Life Saving Clubs are located.

Due to mixed information regarding the boundaries and names of local Clans, the Aboriginal Heritage Office recommends that our Northern Beaches Surf Clubs deliver the following acknowledgement to show respect dedicated to the traditional custodians of the land or sea where the event takes place.

“I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands on which we gather and show my respect to the Elders past and present and other Aboriginal people here today”.



Surf Life Saving NSW has a diverse and multicultural membership, and there are a number of resources to support clubs in strengthening their links to local communities. 

For more information on beach safety talks and workshops that can be tailored to groups no matter what age or background, visit the SLSNSW Community Programs page. For multicultural resources and collateral please contact the Community Education Team.



Surf Life Saving is a proud member of Pride in Sport which is the only sporting inclusion program specifically designed to assist organisations of all levels with the inclusion of employees, members, coaches, volunteers, and spectators with diverse sexualities and genders.

In support of our transgender members and their clubs, we have a transgender factsheet available. This provides clear and insightful information on how to best support members and their experiences within Surf Life Saving. 

The newly created SLSA Female Mentoring Program aims to strengthen and support females in positions of leadership in Surf Life Saving. 40 women across Australia were selected to take part in this program in 2020, and program founder Suzanne Storrie shares information on this ground-breaking program. 

Play by the Rules has devised a shortlist of ideas to help your club encourage more women to get involved in leadership – visit the Women on Board for insights and information.



Lifesavers with Pride (LWP) is Australia’s alliance of gender and sexually diverse surf lifesavers. They represent lifesavers across the whole rainbow which includes our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer members as well as working with straight supporters.  They advocate on their behalf with Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA), as well as the state’s offices, plus with surf clubs across the country to promote a welcoming, inclusive and progressive lifesaving culture that is both proud and safe for all its members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

Lifesavers with Pride have developed a suite of resources to ensure all clubs are able to provide a safe and secure environment for their LGBT members. These include

  • Surf Club Resources – pamphlets, checklists, posters, stickers
  • Proud Beaches Scholarship – enabling LGBTIQ people to overcome the financial cost involved in completing training to become a lifesaver
  • Proud Beaches Forum – held in 2019 this forum presented current research, member experiences, and external best practice for engagement. 


What Your Club Can Do


To make a genuine connection to culturally diverse populations identify key water activities which engage diverse populations, take part in regional water safety events and initiatives, and/or work with local service providers who support culturally and linguistically diverse populations.  


To educate all Australians on ways to reduce the number of aquatic accidents and deaths provide surf education sessions/events for multicultural groups, work with local Council and businesses to provide surf safety messaging, and/or visit schools and other groups to promote surf safety.


To recruit new members to join Surf Life Saving ensure that your club is a welcoming place to be, support members to be more aware of people’s various cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and provide opportunities for both on-beach and off-beach volunteering roles.


To retain a culturally diverse membership base utilise people in roles which match their skills and abilities, ensure that identified organisational barriers are addressed, reflect on the Club’s culture and work towards shifting this if necessary, ensure feedback mechanisms are in place, and respond to these with respect and diligence, and recognise volunteers for their contributions.


To celebrate the diversity that currently exists why not recognise initiatives within SLS through internal and external awards, through internal and external reporting and media, and/or join in on events such as Harmony Day.

Conducting Club Meetings

For Club meetings  – consider how you consider divers.

SLSSNB Inclusive Meetings Information

Inclusion Statement

Does your club welcome all members of the community regardless of ability, age, culture, gender, race, religion or sexuality?
Inclusion Policy Example

Culture & Leadership – Creating Inclusive Clubs

Being welcoming and inclusive is one feature of healthy and successful clubs.
Creating Inclusive Clubs – Play by the Rules

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