A dramatic drop in membership has left Bellambi Surf Lifesaving Club struggling to meet its weekend beach patrol demands.
With just 12 patrol crew members - down from 19 last season - the club is in desperate need of more volunteers, according to club captain Jackie Percy.
She said the shortage of patrolling members, particularly those with IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) training, meant those on the roster spent more of their spare time on the beach.
"We're volunteers, and it takes a lot of time out of people's lives because people have kids and other activities to do, and it's just putting a strain on everybody," she said.
Responsibility for organising patrols and making sure enough qualified lifesavers are on the beach rests squarely on the 20-year-old's shoulders.
She takes the sometimes daunting task in her stride, but admits it can be a scramble when all her carefully-made plans fall apart on a Friday afternoon.
"You think you've got it right and then something pops up and you just think, oh no," she said.
Although not ideal, Ms Percy said a helping hand from neighbouring clubs and beyond had been vital in keeping the red and yellow flags up at Bellambi.
"Luckily we've been able to rely on other clubs in the Illawarra," she said.
"We've had so much help from Woonona surf club, Wollongong, Thirroul, and there's Coledale coming down in November and a Sydney club to help us out."
Ms Percy's first introduction to the club was as a nine-year-old when she took to the surf and, having worked her way up the ranks, is now one of Bellambi's key members.
She said the club was small but had a lot to offer both new and returning volunteers.
"It's an awesome club, it's like a little family, everyone looks out for each other." Anyone interested in volunteering can go to Bellambi Beach on a Sunday or call 0431 463 947.