Some Illawarra lifesavers are concerned at changes to Surf Life Saving Australia’s safety guidelines.
The changes, to be implemented on October 1 next year, mean all surf lifesavers operating inflatable rescue boats (IRBs) will be required to wear lifejackets.
Helmets will also be mandatory for all surf boat rowers.
Illawarra Surf Life Saving duty officer Lachlan Pritchard said while most of the region’s lifesavers had welcomed the changes, many were still unsure of just what they would mean when conducting rescues.
‘‘Due to the fact it’s just come out we’re still learning and getting our heads around what the new requirements are,’’ Mr Pritchard said.
‘‘There are a few members concerned about it and members who are for it as well but that’s going to happen in all organisations.’’
Mr Pritchard said the Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club planned to voluntarily implement the laws this season – 12 months before the required date.
‘‘We’ll start it this season so we can suss it out prior to the first of October next year to see how it goes,’’ he said.
An SLSA spokesman said concerns lifesavers would be required to wear lifejackets while diving into the water and performing rescues were unfounded.
‘‘The IRB crewperson may only remove the certified lifejacket when exiting the boat to perform an in-water rescue,’’ he said.
An education campaign developed by SLSA will help support the implementation of the changes, he said.