IRB Racing

Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs) were introduced into Surf Life Saving in the 1970s to respond more efficiently to rescue situations. The IRB has since become a valuable tool in search and rescue, vessel recovery, and event supervision of swimmers, thanks to its speed, visibility and onboard equipment.

IRB Competition

IRB competitions are conducted during the off-season (May-July), given the need for IRB capability on patrols throughout the season. IRB Racing simulates a real-life rescue scenario, testing the crew’s skill in negotiating through the surf, manoeuvring the craft and adapting to various beach conditions.

As the IRB is the most commonly used piece of rescue equipment, the skills learnt during racing feeds directly back to the skills required during patrol.

IRB racing consists of four events in Male and Female competitions. These are:

  • Surf Rescue; Starting on the beach, a driver and crew race to a turning buoy, complete a 360-degree turn, collect a patient at a second buoy and race back to the beach, where the driver exits and sprints up the beach.
  • Mass Rescue; Completed in the same fashion. However, when the driver exits, they run around a beach marker while the crewman turns the boat around. They then proceed to collect a second patient.
  • Tube Rescue; The same principle as above is adopted. However, upon rounding the first buoy, the crewman exits with a rescue tube and swims 25 meters to collect a patient. They return to the boat and climb in. The driver then rounds the buoy a second time and returns to shore.
  • Team Rescue; This is similar to a Mass Rescue. However, after the first patient is rescued, the driver and crew tag in a relay fashion and a second patient is rescued.
Getting Involved

For club members to participate in IRB Racing they must meet the minimum requirements of: 

  • Completed Bronze Medallion;
  • Completed IRB Crew Certificate; and
  • Completed 25 hours boat time.


Contact us if you want to find out more!