Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB Driver

Course Overview

The Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB Driver (SLA-IRBD) is designed to create competent IRB drivers. The qualification has a number of theoretical and practical components such driving in the surf, patient rescues and maritime regulations to prepare Surf Lifeguards for IRB use. It is compulsory for members to have the SLA-IRBD to drive an IRB. The SLA-IRBD gives Surf Lifeguards the knowledge and skill required to respond in rescue situations utilising an IRB. The SLA-IRBD is a pre requisite for National Lifeguard School.

Course Information 


  • Current member of a SLS club 
  • 16 years of age (Note: You MUST be 16 years of age before starting any IRB driver training)
  • Surf Lifeguard Award (refreshed) 
  • IRB Crewperson Module
  • Radio Communication Module or Marine VHF Radio Operators Certificate 
  • Minimum 10 hours logged IRB driver training 

Duration: Variable depending on competence and instruction structure 2-8 weeks 
Delivered by: Club instructors 
Who should complete it: Anyone interested in driving an IRB 
Candidate requirements

  • Attend training sessions with the club instructor 
  • Complete the IRB Driver Workbook 
  • Successfully complete all components of the examination 

Exam components

  • Theory test 
  • IRB engine setup 
  • Solo driving 
  • Engine reinstatement 
  • Single person rescue 
  • Driving skills 
  • Multiple patient rescue 
  • IRB engine closedown 

Topics covered

  1. IRB engine 
  2. Engine reinstatement 
  3. IRB engine set up 
  4. Maritime regulations 
  5. Driving skills 
  6. IRB engine closedown 
  7. Rescues 
  8. Operations 


At the completion of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and explain the factors involved in the set up and close down of an IRB engine
  2. Drive an Inflatable Rescue Boat

To begin training for this qualification contact your club 

Online Resources

IRB Training Manual

This Manual includes topics and content to assist a candidate to gain either their IRB Crewperson Module or Senior Lifeguard Award - IRB Drivers Award. Once candidates have completed their module or award, the training manual should be kept by them as reference. Hard copies of this manual can be purchased from SLSNZ. 
Online Download: IRB Training Manual (pdf, 9MB) (updated September 2021)

IRB Driver Candidate Workbook

This workbook has been created specifically for IRB Driver candidates. All candidates training towards their IRB drivers must complete this workbook.  
Online Download: IRB Driver Workbook WRITABLE (updated September 2021)