AltonaLSC are introducing a cap on the number of participants we can accommodate within the Nippers program. Interested parents are encouraged to register early to avoid disappointment!

To successfully run a Nippers program there are many roles to be filled and undertaken each week, particularly Age Group Managers and Water Safety are required to be provided within maximum ratios dictated by Surf Life Saving Australia.

Our program has grown rapidly over the past few years eclipsing our ability to recruit volunteers.  This means that we now need to place a cap on the total number of participants within the Nippers program until our volunteer base catches up with our requirements.

We need your support to help us continue to run our much-loved program so that we can educate as many children as possible on safe and fun water use.


A basic knowledge of water safety is vital when swimming at the beach. The Altona Nippers program aims to provide the opportunity for children to gain valuable water and surf safety skills and knowledge in a safe and fun environment.

The Nipper program incorporates the national Surf Education Program, which is structured specifically to cater to children's age and ability.  It progressively teaches children basic life saving skills required to be safe in and around an aquatic environment.

The aim of the program is to promote surf awareness and safety as well as surf related sports and physical activities.

Nippers activities are aimed at building lifesaving and leadership skills and it is a training ground for tomorrow's lifesavers.

The information provided below is intended to answer many of the questions you may have, however for all other concerns of queries, please contact our Nippers Management Team via email to discuss. 


Altona Life Saving Club currently uses TeamApp to communicate and coordinate almost all of our club activities.

All important correspondence relating to Nippers will be communicated via Team App! If you don't have Team App, you will miss out on this information.

Team App is a free app designed to provide sporting and social clubs with better tools for communicating with members and players in real time using either web based or smartphone app interfaces. You can find out more about Team App here.  For instructions on how to download and set up Team App, click here.


Nippers Management Committee

Nippers Coordinators:  Travis Theodore

Junior Development Manager:  Aaron Hunt

Nippers Administration Manager:  Jemma Robson

Competition Manager:  Paul Puhar

Age Group Managers:  Various - these will be known closer to the season

The Nipper Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the Nipper Program and is assisted by Age Group Managers who run the Sunday sessions for each age group. The Nipper Coordinator is also supported by contact officers who wear white Altona LSC polo shirts on Sunday mornings. If you need to discuss your child’s needs in relation to the program or have general queries, please raise these with one of the program management team.

What does your child do at Nippers?

The Nipper Program aims to teach children surf awareness, surf skills, lifesaving skills and competition/teamwork skills. Your child will participate in a range of life saving skills and endurance activities including:


Our Nippers sessions start out with warm up exercises and games before we get started.  These are designed to ensure everybody feels welcome and involved, regardless of ability.


There is a serious side to the work we do.  We want to ensure that all children who participate within the Nippers program learn the vital skills and knowledge which will allow them to keep themselves, and potentially those around them, safer when around water.  Each week we select one or two surf education lessons which have been developed to be appropriate for the age groups the children are divided in to.  These lessons may include sun smart education, identifying beach hazards like surf and rips and a basic knowledge of resuscitation and first aid skills. 


  • Beach Flags - Designed to showcase  the athletic ability and mental readiness of life savers to react in moments to whatever situation is before them, the beach flags events requires participants to lie flat on the sand facing away from the flags (relay style baton in shape) in readiness.  When the started gives the signal, the athlete must spring to their feet, turn and race towards the flags, locating and diving to secure one of the flags before the other athletes.  In each round at competition level, one or more participants are eliminated until there is a winner.
  • Beach Sprint - Another event which showcases the athletic ability of life savers to rapidly run across soft sand in order to get to the water and perform a rescue.
  • Beach Run - The beach run is an endurance event which is varied depending upon the age group between 500m and 2km.  It's primary purpose is to build physical and mental endurance.
  • Wade Race - The wade race involves running through shallow water utilising high legs and dolphin diving to complete the course as quickly as possible.  Life savers utilise these same skills to navigate shallow waters quickly before they can swim out to rescue patients.


  • Iron Man/Woman - The ultimate test of skill and endurance, the Iron Man/Woman race tests the ability of Nippers to complete two circuits of a water course, once whilst swimming and the second time paddling their board.  Between each lap, participants are required to run up the beach and around the flags and collecting their board before returning to the water.
  • Surf Race - The surf race simulates the need for life savers to swim longer distances, navigating surf and water conditions to provide assistance to people in need.  Nippers are challenged to swim around a water course consisting of two swim buoys before returning back to the beach and running up the sand to the finish line.
  • Board Race - The paddle board is the mainstay of the surf life saving movement in the modern age.  Paddling their boards, life savers can cover greater distances, much faster than swimmers and provide much needed assistance to people in need.  Nippers learn these skills by paddling their own board out through the waves, around the course before returning to the beach.

For 2017 we are planning on introducing a number of other events which will further broaden the skill set of our Nippers, plus provide some fun exercises designed to be inclusive of children of all abilities.  These events include:

  • Tube Race - Nippers swim the length of the swim course towing a rescue tube to simulate a life saver swimming to a patient in need.
  • Tube Rescue - Nippers swim out to a partner, clip the rescue tube around their partner and then swim back to shore, towing their partner with them as would a life saver during a rescue.
  • Board Rescue - Working with a partner again, Nippers paddle out to their partner who is playing a rescue patient.  Nippers need to retrieve the patient and paddle back to shore.
  • Aqua Cameron - Combining 4 disciplines of life saving, the Aqua Cameron involves 4 people per team with one each completing the wade leg, the swim leg and the board leg with one team member as a runner between each leg. 
  • Run-Swim-Run - The Run-Swim-Run combines two runs on the beach separated by a swim leg to test and build the endurance of junior life savers.

 Further information will added for each of these events shortly.

What Ages Is Nippers For?

Altona Nippers is open to children aged between 5 and 14 years of age.

Your child’s age is taken as the age they are at midnight 30th September. If your child is 11 yr as at 30 September he/she will be in the Under 12 age group. 

Swimming Proficiency

To ensure the safety of participants, all children 7 years (U8) and up have to be able to demonstrate their ability to swim a set distance before participating in Sunday Nipper Sessions.

For U8-U10 it is a 25 m freestyle swim and 1 min survival float. For U11 it is 50 m freestyle swim and 2 min survival float and it progresses to 200 m freestyle swim (within 5 min) and 3 min survival float for U14.

This year (2017), ALSC will be conducting these swim proficiencies ourselves instead of asking you to have a swim teacher or coach complete them.  This allows our swim coaches to see and understand the abilities of each child in order to understand how we can best support their development over the season.

Check out the membership renewal or new membership pages for more information on how to book a slot at one of our proficiency sessions.

For children 8 years (U9) and above, our ultimate aim is to support those children who are capable to achieve their ‘S’ badge, which involves an open water swim  ranging between 150-288m depending on the age group. The ‘S’ badge allows children to compete in water events at Competition Carnivals.

We welcome all children of all skill levels, but strongly advise children 8 years and up to have swimming experience. We do not teach them to swim and it is expected that your child will have current or previous experience in swimming lessons or squads.  

Please ask about our pre-season swimming program if your child needs some additional support to be ready for the season.

What happens at the Altona Nippers Session?

  • The Nipper Session commences at 10:00 am and finishes at 11:45 am most Sundays in front of the Patrol Observation Tower at Altona Beach. Please see the nipper calendar to confirm dates and times for the current season.
  • Parents/guardians are required to sign-in their child in at the sign-in table at the front of the clubrooms before making your way across the road to the age group flag appropriate for your child.
  • As parents you are required to remain in attendance during the session.
  • Parent helpers are required to wear a high-vis vest (provided.)  Helpers are required to ensure we meet minimum ratios of adults to children during water events
  • Each age group will have a coloured flag and a large container for drink bottles.
  • At the completion of the session, parents/guardians are required to sign-out their child from the Age Manager - your child's group may or may not return to the starting position to complete sign-out, so please keep close to your groups.
  • After the sign-out parents/guardians are able to take their child back into the water with a board or purchase a sausage from the barbeque 
  • Boards are to be returned to the board trailer (or club house) once finished in a clean state (no sand). 

What does your child need to bring?

Your child is required to wear an Altona LSC skull cap and an Altona LSC long sleeve rash shirt at all times. They will also require a pink singlet for water activities.

Your child will need to have sunscreen applied before commencing the session, have a bucket hat available and bring a water bottle.

Wetsuits (minimum short arm and leg) are highly recommended particularly in the early and latter stages of the season as the water is usually below 18°C


A number of clothing/swimwear items are available, including caps, hats, swimmers, rash shirts, polo shirts and hoodies.

The uniform shop will be open in the clubrooms most Sunday mornings before Nippers and our secure web store is available for purchase at any time.  Orders placed 48 hours ahead of the next Nippers session will be able to collect these orders prior to the commencement of the session.

For any further assistance or queries regarding uniforms, please email our Uniforms Coordinator at 

Competition at Carnivals

Nippers who are keen to challenge themselves can get involved in our competition team and test their abilities against Nippers from other Victorian life saving clubs.

There are typically between 6-8 competition carnivals scheduled throughout the season, as well as the Junior State Championships.  Nippers in the competition team get to enjoy the benefits of both the competitive and the social aspects of the life saving movement.

Carnivals are open to Nippers from Under 8 age group and above and involve swimming, board paddling, wading, running, beach flags, and plenty of relays.

Please see the Competition page for more details. 

Nippers Age Level Certificate

A certificate will be given to each nipper who has successfully completed the minimum requirements of the program at the annual Presentation Day.

Details of the Presentation Day will be provided closer to the conclusion of the season. 

Club Nipper of the Year

Altona LSC places a great emphasis on nippers being nurtured in an environment that values teamwork, contribution, friendship, trust, respect, caring & responsibility. At the end of the season the committee will select and award the Nipper member of the year. 

Club Carnival - Point Score

All nippers are encouraged to participate in the Club Carnival - Point Score which will be  held on the last session of the season. Each age group will complete three events; Beach Sprint, Flags and the Iron.

The Iron event provides a great challenge and plenty of enjoyment for the nippers. For U6-U8 it is a long wade (no swimming) followed by a board paddle with a final run up the beach. For U9-U14 the wade-swim increases in length with increasing age, this is followed by a board paddle and a run up the beach.

Medals for the top 3 competitors for each event will be awarded as part of the end of season celebration. 

What Can Parents/Guardians Do?

The Altona Nippers runs entirely on volunteers, so the success of the program relies on parents getting involved. Becoming a volunteer in the nipper program is a fantastic and rewarding experience. You don’t need any skills or experience to help.

Parents are required to help and could become involved in many areas such as age group managers (running the program for each session for the age group), age group helpers (helping the age group manager), water safety helpers, social activities, fundraising, BBQ assistants and sponsorship. We desperately need help to run the nippers activities, so please contact any of the Management Team if you are interested. 

Important Note for Parents:

All parents and members over the age of 18 must complete a Working With Children check (WWC). The form and photograph must be lodged prior to becoming a member.

Forms are available from the Justice Department website: 

Code of Conduct

In order to support the creation of a safe and fun environment for our Nippers, the club committee have published a set of Codes of Conduct which set the standards of behaviours for all club members in their roles as committee members, officials, coaches, participants or parents.

The committee ask that current and future members take the time to read those Codes of Conduct relevant to your own level of involvement or participation and keep these in mind when interacting with people within the club environment.

More information on our Codes of Conduct can be found here.  

Wet Weather

If the conditions make it impracticable to conduct a nipper’s session a message will be sent out on TeamApp informing any changes or cancellation of the session.  Theory sessions, in the club room, will still be conducted for U11-U14. 

Fund Raising

Altona LSC relies on membership fees, grants, sponsorships and fundraising to generate funds to buy and maintain its lifesaving equipment. We have very few fundraising activities mainly Bunnings BBQ, Nipper Discos, Presentation Day Raffle and Sunday BBQ. We don’t ask much of our members apart from helping out with the Sunday BBQ. Each week an age group will be rostered on the BBQ, each age group will only have to assist twice in the year and it is likely you will only have to help on one occasion. Please see Maria Schofield to nominate a day that you are available to assist. 


The Altona LSC committee has decided to have a family membership for all nipper members, such that all parents and nippers are covered for insurance purposes when at the club, using club equipment, helping out at the Nipper sessions and competition carnivals and carrying club equipment. The cost starts from $205 which is for one child and 2 adults. Check our the Membership menu for more information on how you can become a member.


If you have a complaint or issue regarding the Nipper program, if you experience or witness any form of inappropriate behaviour please report these matters to a member of the Management Team. We will seek to resolve the issue or concerns in accordance with Club, LSV and SLSA policies. 


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Nippers Quick Facts


Nippers is a junior surf life saving program to promote the skills and knowledge required to safely have fun in the water.


Nippers caters to children of ages 5 - 13 (check the cut-off dates to be sure)


Nippers runs weekly on Sunday mornings from 10:00am - 11:45am from Sunday 29th October 2017 until 4th March 2018. We take a break during the January school holidays as many Nippers families are away on holidays.


Altona Life Saving Club runs a Nippers program at Altona Beach, adjacent to the Altona Pier (clubroom address is 139 Esplanade, Altona)


Fees are charged on a per family basis and provide a range of benefits for the whole family.  Fees start from $205 (family with 2 adults and 1 child) and include full use of the club equipment and facilities during patrol times



Find out more information about our Nippers surf education program for children 5 - 13 years old Read More

Competition Info

Altona Life Saving Club participates in a broad range of inter-club life saving competitions Read More

Life Saving Youth Program

We actively promote health, well-being and community service within our Life Saving Youth Program for 14-18 year olds Read More

Boot Camp

The club runs boot camp year round for members to promote health and fitness Read More

Patrol Information

Our members patrol Altona beach throughout the Summer months Read More
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