Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Drivers Camp

Please note that the IRB Drivers Camp will NOT be run in the 2020-21 season.


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.

What is the IRB Drivers Camp?

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

The IRB Drivers Camp, however, is not easy and it requires a full understanding and exhibition of critical elements such as

  • 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.
  • competency and confidence 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 as well as scenario-based learning. 

What does the camp entail?

By the end of the IRB Drivers Camp, candidates will be able to

  • understand the roles and responsibilities of an IRB Driver
  • 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

Candidates will also be able to

  • 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

Candidates will be able to perform rescues in an IRB as a driver and 

  • 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

Candidates will be taught to prepare and maintain an IRB motor, as well as 

  • 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 following season.
  • attend rostered patrols and continue to upskill as an IRB driver.