For most of the year, the region's surf lifesavers are the ones dishing out help whenever they can, but for a short time the tables will turn.
Surf Life Saving Illawarra's (SLSI) annual appeals week kicks off tomorrow, with clubs across the region urging the community to dig deep and help keep them afloat.
Throughout the week, volunteers in red and yellow patrol uniforms will hit the region's neighbourhoods and shopping centres to collect funds for their clubs.
All of the money raised will go directly to clubs to keep patrols running, and for the purchase of vital lifesaving equipment.
In the past year alone, SLSI's 17 clubs have performed more than 433 rescues and contributed about 400,000 hours on patrol.
SLSI president Bill Seay said he hoped the public would be generous in supporting the volunteers who helped keep the community and visitors safe when on the region's beaches.
"This is a grassroots appeal and our clubs are fund-raising to support their own volunteer patrols to protect their local community," he said.
"It's very important in that it's the best opportunity to go out into the community in uniform and speak to people face to face."
Some Illawarra clubs have struggled to retain patrolling members for the summer season, but Mr Seay said the overall membership numbers were strong.
"We've got somewhere between about 60 to 70 new bronze medallists this season," he said.