Nipper FAQ | Coolum Beach SLSC

Coolum Nipper frequently asked questions

We understand that if you are new to nippers you might have lots of questions about how nippers operate and the Surf Lifesaving systems. We hope we can cover the answers to some of your questions here.

Season start & Nipper membership registrations

When is the Nipper season?

The Nippers season runs over the summer, usually starting around September and ending in March. (Exact start and finish dates vary each season.)

When do Nipper registrations open?

Registrations for Nippers usually open around July/August each year. Details for the upcoming season can be found here - Nippers Membership

How old do you need to be to start Nippers at Coolum?

Kids aged 5 to 12 can join Nippers at Coolum SLSC.

  • U6s - must be 5 by the 30 Sept
  • U13s - must be 12 by 30 Sept

How much does it cost to join nippers?

The Nipper fees for this season can be found here - Nipper Fees

Can my child have a ‘trial’ at nippers to see if they like it?

To participate at Nippers, even as a trial, you need to have completed a membership registration, paid the relevant fees, and sucessfully complete the pool proficiency. This is a Surf Life Saving Australia policy that is put in place to ensure everyone participating is protected.

If you would like to find out what happens at Nippers you are welcome to come down to the beach on a Sunday morning throughout the season to watch a session.

Nipper proficiency - Pool & Beach

What’s the difference between the first pool proficiency and the second?

Nothing, both sessions are the same format. We run two sessions to provide all nippers an opportunity to complete their pool proficiency.

This also allows any children who are unsuccessful at their first proficiency attempt to return for a second go. We recommend that you try to attend the first session so you have this option.

Why do nippers need to do a pool proficiency?

The pool proficiency assessment is carried out to ensure that all children have a minimum age-appropriate suitable swimming ability. Every single nipper is required to successfully complete the pool proficiency.

Each age group has a specific swim distance and float time which is set by Surf Life Saving Australia which needs to be achieved. (Distances & times can be found here.)

All proficiencies are carried out in a caring, supportive environment. Please reassure your child if they are nervous about their proficiency that it is an assessment, not a test, to ensure they can safely attend nippers in an open water environment.


IMPORTANT* Please be advised that SLSQ have changed the mandatory requirements of nipper pool abilities to qualify for beach proficiency trials. The new requirements can be found in the Nipper Handbook

Please note this year there will only be two pool proficiency sessions (Sunday 27th August and Sunday 10th September) and all nippers must book into one of these sessions – Book Pool Proficiency Session

Furthermore, we strongly suggest that you take the time to practice your child’s requirements before attending your nominated session.

What happens at a pool proficiency?

When you arrive at the pool follow the directions to get your nipper’s name ticked off the master list and sign in. This ensures we know who is there and that your family has completed the registration and fee payment requirements.

Our age managers and volunteers will then gather the kids in age groups and take them through their respective swim or float assessment. This process is overseen by our JAAOs or a trained Surf Life Saving assessor who are responsible for assessing the proficiency of each nipper.

Please be on time and bring swimmers, a towel, and sunscreen. Goggles and swim caps are optional.

Nippers need to successfully complete their pool proficiency to be able to attempt their beach proficiency assessment.

What happens if my child can not successfully complete the pool proficiency?

If your child cannot complete the age-required pool swim at either the first or second (or both) proficiency session you can apply for a fee refund. Refund requests must be submitted to Club Administration within 2 weeks of the last proficiency.

What is beach proficiency?

The beach proficiency is often carried out on the first day of the season and is held on the beach in front of Coolum SLSC. This assessment is required for U8 to U13 age groups and involves an age-specific run/swim/run distance (U8s - run/wade/run).

Your nipper age manager and the assessors will guide the nippers through their beach proficiency. (Distances can be found here)

Nippers who do not successfully complete their beach assessment are encouraged to try again at the next Sunday Nipper session.

This assessment is for the safety of the individual nipper and is carried out in a caring, safe, encouraging environment accompanied in the ocean by a team of experienced, trained water safety volunteers. Nippers must complete the swim unaided but support will always be nearby.

What happens at Nippers?

What time does Nippers start on Sundays?

Nippers need to be signed on, sunscreened, with their nipper cap and rashie by 7.45 am each Sunday ready for the briefing and an 8 am start.

How long does Nippers go for?

  • U6 & U7 - Nipper sessions run for around an hour
  • U8 - U13 - Nipper sessions run for around 2-2 1/2 hours

What do we need to bring to nippers?

To every nipper session you need to bring:

  • Nipper cap
  • Nipper rashie
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Towel
  • A positive attitude

Please clearly name every piece of your child’s gear.

Can parents/guardians help out with nippers in the water?

If you have a current Surf Rescue Certificate or an SLS Bronze Medallion we’d love your help with water safety on the beach. Please speak to our committee to find out how you can get involved.

However, due to SLSA regulations, if you do not hold one of these certifications, you cannot help in the water. Please leave the water activities to the trained volunteers for the safety of all individuals. If you have any concerns please speak to your Age Manager or the JAC.

The club runs several SRC and Bronze courses throughout the year if you’d like to get involved & help with water safety at nippers. Find out more here - SRC Course or Bronze Medallion Course

Can parents/guardians help out on the beach?

Yes. We’d love help on the beach/sand. You can help out with activities like flags and sprints, beach games as well as transporting equipment on and off the beach, and carrying the drinks/towel buckets. Ask your age manager each week where they need assistance.

Many official volunteer positions don’t involve getting in the ocean such as age manager, carnival official, team manager, bbq helper, photographer, uniform coordinator, or nipper committee member. Find out more about the volunteer opportunities at nippers here - /nippers/nipper-fees

Do I have to stay on the beach while Nippers is in session?

Yes. A parent or guardian must be on the beach and contactable at ALL times during all nipper activities including Sunday sessions, all training, and carnivals. Under no circumstances can parents/guardians drop kids at nippers and leave.

It’s also imperative to sign your child in and out and let your age manager know if you are leaving early or taking your nipper off the beach for any reason. Making sure every child is accounted for at all times is essential in a public and water environment.

What happens if my nipper loses his/her official Nipper cap or rashie?

High viz Nipper caps and rashies are an important safety system for all nippers and must be worn to every nipper event including training. Nipper age caps are colored to help age managers and water safety quickly identify which group a particular child belongs to.

If you lose a cap or rashie replacements can be purchased from the Nipper uniform shop on Sunday mornings.

What age do nippers start using the boards?

Board skills are taught from the U9 age group.

When can my nipper use the club equipment?

All club equipment such as nipper boards, boogie boards, etc can only be used during official Nipper sessions under the supervision of an age manager, coach, or water safety such as Sunday morning nippers, training, and carnivals.

The use of club equipment outside of these sessions is not permitted.

How do I know if a nipper session is canceled?

Coolum Nippers uses the TeamApp account ‘Junior Lifesavers Coolum Beach’ to communicate any last-minute session cancellations to families. Parents should download the app, sign up and turn on notifications to ensure they get the most up-to-date details.

More information on our TeamApp can be found here - Coolum Nipper Communications

How do I contact my age manager or the Nipper committee?

Nipper volunteers can be emailed at or you can contact the committee via our TeamApp account.

Support Coolum Surf Club

Not ready to become part of Coolum Surf Club but still want to help?

It takes a lot of money to run a surf lifesaving club; from the equipment needed on the beach (vehicles, boards, IRBs, first aid kits, defibrillators etc) to administration and training to facilitate patrolling.

So if you can't join us, support us through one of the following options.



Coolum Surf Club Supporters Logo


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