PUASAR013A – Participate in an aquatic rescue operation


This unit covers the competency required to participate in rescue operations as a member of an aquatic rescue team, including inland rivers, lakes, dams, surf zones and oceans. This unit underpins specialist rescue operations.

Participation in a rescue operation may involve working with personnel who are trained appropriately to treat casualties including first aid officers, lifesavers, lifeguards, ambulance crew, doctors, nurses and paramedics.

This unit replaces PUASAR009B Participate in an aquatic rescue operation.

Pre Requisites



Participating in an aquatic rescue operation, normally as a member of a team, will require the effective application of a variety of skills. Competence in this unit will include appropriate preparedness, response, direct participation in the rescue and appropriate post-rescue recovery. Successful achievement of this unit will require practical and effective application of skills in a real or simulated rescue operation.

This unit is typically relevant for lifesavers, lifeguards or other rescue personnel who are required to perform or participate in rescues (regularly or occasionally) in an aquatic environment.

Performance Criteria

1. Prepare and respond to rescue    
1.1 Operation and task information is obtained and discussed with team members
1.2 Appropriate rescue equipment is identified and selected based on task information as directed by supervisor
1.3 Personal protective equipment is selected based on the nature of the rescue operation
1.4 Any further details of the nature of the rescue are received en route
2. Participate in assessing the rescue scene    
2.1 Hazards are identified on approach to rescue scene
2.2 Methods for minimising hazards are discussed and agreed to by team members
2.3 Hazards and environmental conditions are minimised or controlled
2.4 Communication with other team members is maintained using appropriate techniques and terminology
2.5 Health, safety and security procedures are correctly followed in accordance with organisational policy and relevant legislation
2.6 Personal capabilities and limitations are recognised and referred to supervisor
2.7 Need for additional personnel and/or specialist equipment is reported to supervisor
3. Perform rescue    
3.1 Access to incident and/or casualties is gained using techniques and equipment in accordance with organisational procedures
3.2 Rescue procedures are conducted in accordance with supervisor’s instructions and organisational procedures
3.3 Casualties are prepared for removal in accordance with organisational policy and procedures
3.4 Casualties are extricated safely using appropriate equipment, rescue techniques and organisational procedures
4. Conclude rescue operations    
4.1 Equipment is recovered, cleaned and maintained to organisational standards and manufacturers’ procedures, and is restored to maintain operational readiness
4.2 Where identified, signs and symptoms of operational stress in self and others are reported to relevant personnel
4.3 Operational debriefing is participated in and operational documentation is completed to organisational standards
4.4 Hygiene precautions are implemented in accordance with organisational requirements

Required Skills & Knowledge

Required Skills

  •     participate as a team member
  •     use rescue equipment
  •     work on a constantly moving platform

Required Knowledge

  •     capabilities and limitations of rescue equipment
  •     casualty handling techniques
  •     composition of team, and roles and responsibilities of team members
  •     environmental hazards
  •     manual handling techniques
  •     nationally agreed hazard marking systems
  •     organisational policies and procedures (such as relevant legislation; operational, corporate and strategic plans; operational performance standards; operational policies and procedures; organisational personnel and occupational health and safety practices and guidelines; organisational quality standards; organisation’s approach to environmental management and sustainability)
  •     personal hygiene
  •     procedures for reporting injuries and accidents
  •     relevant legislative and regulatory requirements
  •     safety precautions
  •     surface search and surface clearance of casualties
  •     techniques and aids
  •     verbal and non-verbal communication techniques including hand signals and language style

Range Statement

Rescue operations may include participation in    

  • Aquatic search and rescue
  • Bar rescue
  • Boating rescue
  • Cliff rescue
  • Open water sea rescue
  • River, lake or dam rescue
  • Surf rescue

Rescue equipment may include    

  • Boards
  • Flotation equipment
  • Hand tools
  • Life rafts
  • Lighting equipment
  • Rescue vessels
  • Ropes
  • Tubes
  • Winch

Personal protective equipment may include    

  • Appropriate protective clothing
  • Ear protection
  • Helmet
  • Infection protection
  • Personal floating devices
  • Reflective vests
  • Respiratory protection
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety gloves
  • Sun protection
  • Wetsuits

Hazards may include    

  • Adverse weather
  • Cliffs and rocks
  • Hazardous creatures
  • Hazardous materials
  • Insufficient light
  • Other craft and users
  • Pollution
  • Piers
  • Sandbanks, bars and rips
  • Sea conditions
  • Surf type

Environmental conditions may include    

  • Effects of weather
  • Sea, surf and ocean conditions
  • Shallow water, bars and rips
  • Tides

Communication techniques may include    

  • Non-verbal
  • Signs and signals
  • Touch
  • Verbal
  • Written

Operational documentation may include    

  • Incident reports
  • Legislation
  • Organisational policies and procedures

Hygiene precautions may include  

  • Avoiding contact with body fluids
  • Washing hands
  • Wearing appropriate protective clothing

Evidence Guide

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit    
Assessment must confirm the ability to:

  •     apply safe work practices in rescue operations
  •     use equipment in accordance with organisational procedures
  •     respond and react to instructions in a safe, correct and timely manner
  •     correctly select and wear personal protective equipment in accordance with organisational requirements

Consistency in performance
Competency should be demonstrated across a range of rescue operations over time to ensure identified situational variables are consistently achieved
Context of and specific resources for assessment    
Context of assessment
Competency should be assessed in a range of rescue operations while on the job or in a simulated environment and under a variety of weather conditions.

Specific resources for assessment
Access is required to:

  •     rescue and personal protective equipment listed in the Range Statement
  •     suitable environment necessary to conduct a range of rescue operations listed in the Range Statement.

Method of assessment     
This unit may be assessed with the following unit/s:

  •     PUATEA001B Work in a team.

In a public safety environment assessment is usually conducted via direct observation in a training environment or in the workplace via subject matter supervision and/or mentoring, which is typically recorded in a competency workbook.
Assessment is completed using appropriately qualified assessors who select the most appropriate method of assessment.
Assessment may occur in an operational environment or in an industry-approved simulated work environment. Forms of assessment that are typically used include:

  •     direct observation
  •     interviewing the candidate
  •     journals and workplace documentation
  •     third party reports from supervisors
  •     written or oral questions.