Rescue Water Craft Award

Course Overview

The Rescue Water Craft (RWC) commonly known as a Personal Water Craft (PWC) or Jetski is specially outfitted for surf interaction and operated by experienced Surf Lifeguards. The main use of the RWC is for Support Services, this is defined as the provision of SLS services over and above the club patrolling system. Support Services major thrust is to provide services at remote/inaccessible locations and to supplement Club patrols as applicable.

As the operator of a Rescue Water Craft you are responsible for the safety of your crew, the public and yourself. It is important that you understand the risks inherent in operating this type of equipment and your role in assessing and minimising risk.

The qualification has a number of theoretical and practical components such as driving in the surf, patient pick up and maritime regulations to prepare experienced Surf Lifeguards for RWC use. 

Course Information 

Pre requistes

20 years of age | Current & active member of a SLS club
Surf Lifeguard Award (refreshed) | Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB Driver (refreshed)
Marine VHF Radio Operators Certificate | Full Motor Vehicle Licence (Class 1)
First Aid Level 1 (current) | First Aid Level 2 (current)
400m Pool swim under 7.30min

The fitness and experience pre-requisites for this role are minimums, it is expected that all applicants exceed these minimums.

Highly recommended

First Aid Level 3 (current) | Advanced Lifeguard Award


Variable depending on competency of candidates

Delivered by

SLSNZ Regions

Who should complete it

Experienced Lifeguards who hold all the required pre-requistes and wish to develop their skills and knowledge in RWC

Candidate requirements

Attend training sessions with SLSNZ Region
Complete the RWC Operators Workbook
Successfully complete all components of the examination

Exam components

Theory test
RWC setup and equipment
Crewing the RWC
RWC Capsize 

Single person rescue
Driving skills
Emergency Manoeuvers
RWC closedown

Topics covered

1. RWC Equipment

2. Fuel

3. RWC Set up

4. RWC closedown

5. Maritime regulations             

6. RWC Capsize             

7. Basic skills and techniques

8. RWC Closedown  9.  General Operations

10. Rescues

11. Communication

RWC Policies

All the current RWC Policies can be found here.


Please contact your regional Lifesaving Manager here, to apply to be a RWC Operator.  

Note: SLSNZ reserves the right to accept members onto the RWC programme at their discretion