Adapt between the flags: Enhancing the capacity of Surf Life Saving Australia to cope with climate change and to leverage adaptation within coastal communities

Marcello Sanò, Russell Richards,Oz Sahin, Shauna Sherker,Daniel Ware and Rodger Tomlinson

An assessment of adaptive capacity of the Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) Australia both at a national scale, and for specific SLSCs has identified 10 actions to enhance the adaptive capacity of Surf Lifesaving in Australia across all clubs, and leverage the capacity of SLSC Australia for improving community resilience to climate change. These actions are: (1) Create mechanisms to access coastal-hazards funding sources, (2) provide access to alternative equipment to keep operations at the beach, (3) improve club-level fundraising mechanisms, (4) inform community on existing adaptation options, (5) integrate coastal hazards and climate change in SLSC training programs, (6) promote training programs within local coastal communities, (7) identify possible innovations in equipment, (8) mainstream climate adaptation into national operations, (9) improve communication with clubs, and (10) build relationships with national organisations that deal with coastal hazards/climate change. The main issues, determinants of adaptive capacity, and adaptation options were identified for the SLSC Australia national office in general, as well as for specific SLSCs located in Currumbin and North Kirra (QLD), Cudgen Headland (NSW), and Ulverstone (TAS). The three main categories of adaptive capacity determinants found within these case studies were funding, technical knowledge, and social and institutional networks. The main issues faced by these clubs included: coastal erosion, accessibility during storms, storm and sea level rise; future erosion, storm tide inundation, operations, operational knowledge, reputation and membership. This study collected information on adaptive capacity and possible adaptation pathways through a literature review, baynesian modelling, workshops, Systems Thinking, Social Network Analysis, Structural Analysis, and System Dynamics modelling.

Resource Type: 
Case studies
Research report
Australia Wide
New South Wales
Finance, business

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