About us - Location

Palm Beach is the most northern of Sydney’s beaches and North Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club is located within Governor Phillip Park on the peninsula between Pittwater and Palm Beach.  

Palm Beach is over 2.8 km long stretching from picturesque Barrenjoey headland at the northern end of the beach to the headland between Palm Beach and Whale Beach at the southern end.  The members of North Palm Beach SLSC actively patrol just over 1.8 kilometres of the beach from Barrenjoey Headland to ‘black rock’ as well as providing rescue and first aid services to the northern parts of Pittwater.

The Early Years

north palm beach North Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club was founded in 1946.  The club was started by local northern beaches families and regular holiday makers at the northern end of Palm Beach.  In those days the area near the base of Barrenjoey Headland was a public camping ground and it was popular destination for people living on the northern beaches and families and tourists travelling the 40 kilometres from the centre of Sydney each weekend.  Palm Beach remains a popular holiday destination but these days it has become the location of choice for many celebrities wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD.  

The first clubhouse was very small and was located where the public amenities block now stands.  A little further north in the hollow of the dunes was the boatshed and the bunkhouse.  An accidental fire partially destroyed the bunkhouse and lead to the club being rebuilt in it present location in 1973.  The club was renovated in the 1980’s when women became full members of Surf Life Saving and the last renovation occurred in 2005.  The club now boasts a large club room, office, boatshed, kitchen facilities a 10 bed female bunkhouse and a 23 bed male bunkhouse and a kiosk that operates 7 days a week all year.









North Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club has always been at the forefront of lifesaving innovation.  Many of the patrolling  procedures, techniques and items of equipment that have become the standard ways of doing things these days, were pioneered on North Palm Beach.   This was largely due to necessity.  The lifesavers at North Palm Beach SLSC had the longest area of beach in Sydney to patrol with only a relatively small number of active members.  Not only that, but the nearest ambulance  comes from Narrabeen and on busy weekends it could take up to two hours for medical assistance to be available.

In the 1980’s, Dr Yeo, the spinal surgeon from Royal North Shore Hospital, worked with the club members at North Palm Beach to develop the techniques and equipment for dealing with spinal injuries in the surf.  He spent hours in the water while the club members experimented on him using various neck supports and trialling different techniques for moving the patient out of the water.  Many of these techniques have been adopted by Surf Life Saving and are used on beaches throughout Australia.

In the days before the radio repeater network the club was the first to use UHF radios to cover the vast distance patrolled.  North Palm Beach SLSC was one of the first clubs to introduce “roving patrols”, where members walked the length of the beach, away from the traditional flagged area and it was the first surf club to own a four wheel drive vehicle and to use it as an integral part of patrolling the beach.  The members purchased a red Suzuki 4-wheel drive and used it to transport gear and equipment along the beach.  The club then was the first to use the Polaris All Terrain Vehicle (ATV).  At the time the lifesavers at North Palm Beach SLSC were using ATV’s most other club’s were using quad bikes.  However, we found that the ATV was much more versatile for patrols as it could carry 2 lifesavers as well as rescue and first aid equipment.  The Club has recently upgraded to the Bobcat ATV that has an aluminium chassis, tray and equipment box.  The Bobcat is fitted with radios, flashing lights and reversing warning beeper and is diesel powered with a governed top speed of 20 km/hr.  This vehicle easily transports 2 lifesavers with rescue boards, spinal boards, rescue tubes and fins as well as first-aid equipment including a shock pack, defibrillator, oxy-viva and pulse-oxymeter.  Surf Life Saving no longer permits quad bikes on patrol in Sydney and encourages all club’s to purchase ATV’s.










In the late 1970’s North Palm Beach SLSC joined with Palm Beach and Whale Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s to operate a jet-boat service for the northern part of the peninsula.  The lifesavers at North Palm Beach were also among the first clubs to use IRB’s (rubber ducks) as integral patrol equipment in the 1980’s.  The use of IRB’s and jet boats  made it much easier to patrol the large water area covered by the club and provide assistance to the many swimmers, windsurfers and kite surfers that use the stretch of beach at the base of Barrenjoey Headland.  Also during the 1980’s many members of North

Palm Beach were among the first volunteer crew on the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.  As part of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, lifesavers, from North Palm Beach SLSC, provided specialist water safety in Sydney Harbour for the triathlon events.

Today, the club tradition of patrolling excellence and the pioneering of new and more efficient ways of patrolling the beach continues.  The club is at the forefront of the introduction of rescue jet ski services within the Sydney Northern Beaches Branch.  The club has partnered with Palm Beach SLSC to form a jet ski group to train drivers, provide patrols along Palm Beach and Pittwater and maintain what is fast becoming a vital piece of rescue equipment.

The main focus of the volunteers at North Palm Beach SLSC has always been maintaining high lifesaving and patrol standards and North Palm Beach SLSC is one of the few clubs to maintain full day patrols with members being rostered for a over 8 patrols over summer.  Most members prefer the all-day patrols as the club is quite isolated being located at the extreme end of the northern beaches and they have the opportunity to make a day trip, or stay for the weekend when on patrol.

A lot of effort goes into acquiring and maintaining the equipment needed to provide the professional service that the public expects from surf life saving clubs.  This season each patrol at North Palm Beach has available a fully equipped 1100 Yamaha jet ski, 3 operational IRB’s (1 or 2 dedicated for patrolling depending on the surf conditions and 1 for training), 6 rescue boards for patrol and 8 for training as well as 4 x ¾ rescue boards for junior members with 2 dedicated for patrols and 2 for training, over 12 rescue tubes and fin sets for patrols and additional sets for training purposes.  Additional patrol equipment includes an equipped Bobcat ATV with a back-up 4 wheel drive double cab utility and all the other first aid and patrol equipment as determined by the governing bodies of surf life saving.

Education and Training

North Palm Beach SLSC. Each year the club trains members to a high standard so that they are successful in achieving awards such as the Surf Rescue Certificate, Bronze Medallion, Radio Operator’s Certificate, Advanced Resuscitation Techniques Certificate, IRB Drivers and Crew Certificates, Jet Ski Operators Certificate, Training and Assessing Qualifications and First Aid Qualifications.  Each season the club also holds a number of first-aid training weekends to update and maintain the skills and qualifications for all active members.


The club still maintains an inclusive family atmosphere and caters for local families as well as families and members from all over Sydney.  In recent seasons large numbers of young people joined the club to participate in the innovative junior education program and while undergoing their training many of their parents have decided to join up and do their bronze medallion.  North Palm Beach now is in the enviable positions of having many patrols containing whole families, where parents and kids patrol the beach together.  In recent seasons the active patrolling membership of the club has increased by over 100% with the club.

Club Identities

The Howard family:  The Howard’s have been the backbone of the club for many decades.  Graham Howard and his brothers Warren and Steven have been patrolling the beach, working on the committee and training people for lifesaving awards for over 30 years.  Their mother, Joan Howard, has been the long serving canteen manager and is affectionately known by all club members as “Ma”.

Graham Howard, the long serving president of the club, provides a steady hand on the tiller.  Graham has been the Branch and State Superintendent of Lifesaving.  Warren Howard, his twin brother, as Chief Instructor has laid a solid platform for the high lifesaving standards expected by the public swimming and surfing at North Palm Beach.

Some Life Members:  Jean Piper in the 1940’s holidayed as young girl in the public camping area that was located in the area now known as the Governor Phillip Reserve.  Jean was one of the founding members of the club and was a member of the club’s first women’s March Past Team during the war years.  Jean maintained an active involvement in the club traveling from Kingsgrove each weekend, on public transport, to work in the canteen until ill health prevented her from traveling in 2010.

Jimmy Traynor, was affectionately known as ‘father’ by all club members.  He patrolled the beach for over 20 years and up until his death in 2009, at 87 years of age, Jimmy remained actively involved in all aspects of the life of the surf club.  He attended all the club committee meetings and took delight in declaring the meetings opened and closed.  Jimmy provided wisdom and experience to younger generations of club members.

The club is known worldwide as “Summer Bay SLSC”

summer bay surf club The club has enjoyed a long association with Channel 7 for over 20 years. North Palm Beach SLSC is known to 100’s of millions of television viewers throughout the world “Summer Bay Surf Club.”  The club and facilities are featured in the popular Channel 7 show “Home and Away” that airs five nights a week in Australia and it is currently shown in some 51 other countries.  North Palm Beach is visited by thousands of local, national and international tourists every week hoping to get a glimpse of the stars of the show and to take photographs of the club and the beautiful pristine beach and surrounding area.