Rescue – the Australian surf boats

Australian National Maritime Museum

Famous throughout Australia as a symbol of the surf, surf clubs and the surf lifesaving movement, the surf lifesaving boat is an Australian class of boat evolved to suit the coastal beaches. It has since found its way to other countries, such as New Zealand, which have also developed a strong surfing tradition. It is rowed by a crew under the command of the sweep, who stands aft steering with a long sweep oar over the transom.

The craft became a distinct vessel in 1913 when the Manly Club in Sydney acquired a boat that then became the standard model. Prior to this the other boats that had been used included vessels similar to the Royal National Lifesaving Society craft in the UK and a variety of other local craft such as butcher boats and whalers, with mixed success.

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