A Message from the CEO regarding ASRLSA and Surf Boat Rowing in South Australia

Recently it came to light that the ASRLSA has been operating uninsured.

This means that they do not have and have not had public liability, member insurance or asset insurance and that their Members have been participating in ASRLSA events at their own risk.

The ASRLSA is an incorporated association which means that they are an independent legal identity and administer their own Surf Boat Rowing League which is completely separate  from Surf Life Saving  SA.

As such they are not automatically entitled to the insurance coverage that is provided to all affiliated lifesaving clubs through SLSSA. As an event organiser, they have an obligation to hold public liability insurance and comply with Consumer and Business Affairs standards and legal requirements.

ASRLSA are not formally affiliated with the ASRL National body. ASRL National President Bert Hunt recently stated (in part) that "the ASRL Inc Nationally is 100% stand alone with a specific Constitution clause that spells out we have no affiliation to any of the State rowing groups". As such ASRL nationally does not appear to provide insurance for Surf Boat Rowers or ASRL events in SA.

ASRLSA also have no formal affiliation or Memorandum of Understanding in place with Surf Life Saving SA and Surf Life Saving SA's attempts to craft one and rectify this landscape of risk for Surf Boat Rowers have been rejected by the ASRLSA.

With a vested interest in the success of Surf Boat Rowing as a sport, Surf Life Saving SA have provided ASRLSA with business advice, financial advice and offered advice from our Insurance Broker JLT in an attempt to assist the ASRLSA to clarify their options to rectify the negligent exposure to  risk for  their Members.

After extensive research by the Surf Life Saving SA team, we have been able to identify and present ASRLSA with two viable legal options and we are committed to supporting ASRLSA with either choice.

The first option is for ASRLSA to remain incorporated but work towards meeting the legal expectations of an independent incorporated body especially purchasing the appropriate insurance products.

The second option is for ASRLSA to dissolve their incorporated association and cease holding uninsured events. If ASRLSA Members choose this option Surf Life Saving SA are committed to establishing a Surf Boat panel under the auspice of the Surf Sports Advisory Committee and resourcing the development of Surf Boat Rowing in line with all other surf sport disciplines.

It is our understanding that these options will be discussed at an upcoming Special General Meeting and ASRLSA Members will vote on these choices.

As it currently stands  ASRLSA has not provided evidence to  SLSSA of their insurance for their events.

Currently, ASRLSA Members who are participating in ASRLSA events who sustain an injury, damage their equipment or injure a member of the public cannot make an insurance claim and may not be covered by any insurance policy.

Members that compete in Surf Life Saving SA events, such as Senior Carnival 1 at Seacliff yesterday are covered by the insurances held by Surf Life Saving SA. As Members of Clubs affiliated with Surf Life Saving SA your club membership fees cover your insurance at our events, however, this cover does not extend to events run by ASRLSA for the reasons outlined above.

Because Surf Life Saving SA share many dual Members with the ASRLSA and due to our long-standing relationship between our organisations and our commitment to the advancement of Surf Boat Rowing in South Australia; Surf Life Saving SA has committed to including Surf Boat Rowing in all Senior Carnivals moving forward and will also run  two  additional Surf Boat Rowing only events. The first will be at Robe on December 9th and the second will be a Metropolitan Twilight Carnival on January 13th. We have added these events to our calendar (and will continue to add more if required) in an effort to preserve a quality participation experience for South Australia Surf Boat Rowers whilst ASRLSA rectify the out-standing risk and compliance issues.

As the CEO of Surf Life Saving SA, let me be clear, our organisation will do everything in our power to ensure the continued success of Surf Boat Rowers in South Australia. With both my daughter and partner participating in the sport of surf boat rowing I am personally deeply committed to ensuring the safety and ethical administration of Surf Boat Rowing and Surf Life Saving SA are dedicated to ensuring enduring opportunities for our Members to participate in the sport we all love.

Click here to for a message from JLT Insurance regarding this matter.

Clare Harris


Surf Life Saving SA