IRB Drivers Camp

What is the IRB Drivers Certificate?

The IRB Drivers Certificate is one of the most sought after and difficult awards offered in the surf lifesaving pathway. It is essential in providing quick and effective water safety at the numerable events and camps run by the club throughout the year. The award is also a necessary requirement for our patrols to operate by Life Saving Victoria’s standards. But finally it is a fantastic award to have attained when applying beyond the club for a Gold Medallion or Lifeguarding position.

If you have ever considered becoming a patrol captain or a lifeguard, and feel you have what it takes to battle Portsea’s notorious surf in an Inflatable Rescue Boat, consider applying for Portsea’s IRB Drivers Camp in 2019.

What is the IRB Drivers Camp?

The IRB Drivers Camp will be run for the first time in 2019, utilising Portsea’s brand-new clubhouse and using equipment that has been stored away during the rebuild process. The Camp is a four-day camp run in two parts, this is because driving an IRB can be physically demanding for a first time driver, and placing two days in two separate weeks allows the candidates to experience a larger range of surf and driving conditions (essential for becoming a well-rounded and confident driver).

This camp however is not easy, it requires a full understanding of: the mechanical workings and motions of an inflatable boat in the surf, the guidelines and legal requirements by the club, Life Saving Victoria and the State, and finally requires a confident driver displaying competency in and out of the surf, while performing rescues, negotiating the surf, dealing with obstacles and removing patients from the vessel.

There will be time put aside each day for mechanical and driver theory, scenario-based learning and also time to complete school or uni work for those who have exams.

What does the camp entail?

By the end of this camp, a candidate will be able to: 

Understand the roles and responsibilities of an IRB Driver, including:

  • List the duties of an IRB Driver
  • List the safety considerations when operating an IRB
  • Provide direction to an IRB Crewperson in all their operational duties
  • Communicate effectively with Crewperson, the public and patients in the normal performance of duties

Drive an IRB

  • Identify the components of an IRB motor
  • Launch an IRB safely and efficiently
  • List motor hazards in the surf
  • Safely and efficiently negotiate the surf while driving an IRB
  • Perform emergency procedures

Perform rescues in an IRB as a Driver

  • Perform conscious and unconscious patient pick-ups
  • Perform complex rescue operations including swimming rescues, sailboarder and kite surfer rescues
  • Contribute to search and rescue operations; liaising effectively with other emergency response services as required

Prepare and maintain an IRB motor

  • Perform pre-operational checks and preventative maintenance of the IRB motor
  • Perform post-operations maintenance of the IRB motor
  • Perform motor re-start procedure after submersion in the surf
  • Report major wear and damage according to organisational procedures

Associated Camp Commitments

Given the specialised nature of the camp and the expensive equipment that this camp utilises, the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club will cover the majority of the costs associated with training and living on camp. 

However, in return for this contribution there is an expectation that all of the camp candidates will:

  • attend one of the driver/crewman award requalifications at the commencement of the 2019/2020 season
  • will attend rostered patrols and continue to upskill as a driver

Camp Details

Location: Portsea Surf Life Saving Club, Back Beach Rd, Portsea VIC 3944


Saturday 21st September, Sunday 22nd September 2019 (and)

Friday 4th October, Saturday 5th October 2019

Cost: $120 – To help cover some expenses, camp training and camp administration costs

Note: The camp will likely have 8 candidates, however if there is a large desire for more to attain the award then the possibility of more candidates being accepted will be considered.


To be eligible for the IRB Drivers Camp in 2019, participants must:

  • Have a proficient Bronze Medallion
  • Have a proficient IRB Crewman’s Certificate
  • Hold a current Victorian Marine License
  • Be 17-years-old on the date of final assessment (if this is a problem, annotate the application expression of interest form)
  • Have contributed to Portsea SLSC in the prior season during patrols, and have displayed a desire to improve Portsea’s lifesaving operational capacity and/or water safety capacity. 

Application Process

Applications open: Friday 12th July 2019

Applications close: Wednesday 31st July 2019

What do I do if I can’t make it?

As the IRB Drivers Certificate is one of the most difficult awards (both in terms of theory and competency), it requires commitment from both the candidates and the trainer.

This camp has been organised to allow a number of candidates to improve their skills in a dedicated environment with committed trainers and candidates training alongside them. Thus, it is difficult to attain the award outside of this camp, however many have attained the award through one-on-one training in the past.

If you are still incredibly keen to attain the Drivers Certificate, contact our Director of Education, Jessica Lamb, at

Otherwise, direct any questions or queries in regards to the camp to either of the camp facilitators Andrew May or Hamish McKendrick at or