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Starfish Nippers is a modified and structured nippers program for all abilities that runs alongside the Fingal Beach Surf Lifesaving Club’s Age Group Nippers program. It  focuses on beach and water safety and awareness, promoting inclusion and diversity at our Club. The modified beach and water activities include fun games, running (or any type of mobility!), beach flags, wading, swimming and boards, at times using modified equipment. The program also links with the Age Group Nipper programs for certain activities, and sometimes Starfish participants work towards joining that program the following season. In the 2022/2023 season, two of our group members worked very hard to achieve their Surf Rescue Certificate (SRC) and are now active patrolling members of our club (pictured right) and water safety volunteers for Starfish Nippers! We are so proud of them! At Starfish we believe that everyone can reach their full potential! 

The program is run entirely by volunteers who have at least a Bronze Medallion Award or SRC, and a First Aid Certificate. We do not hold formal qualifications in working with children with special needs, but some of us do this as we have family or friends with special needs, or some are just willing to give their time, impart their surf lifesaving knowledge and most of all are keen to have some fun with the children and families. 


The program is designed for young people aged 6 years and above with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties, and is modified to suit an individual participant’s needs so everyone can be included. Each year, the make-up of the group can be very different so the first few weeks are about developing a program that will work for the current members. 

Run entirely by volunteers at a number of Life Saving Clubs around Australia, the program ensures that students with disabilities and their parents can be involved with surf skills and lifesaving like their siblings, friends and others on the beach.


The Starfish Nippers program has a profound and positive impact on everyone who gets involved. The benefits flow to not only our Starfish Nippers and their families, but also to our volunteers/trainers, our Age Group Nippers and the club overall.


Our Starfish love being involved and included in the club and the overall Nippers program. They feel a real sense of belonging and wear their Nippers gear with great pride. They are learning life skills from excellent role models (their trainers), increasing their beach and water safety knowledge and improving their swimming and board skills, while developing their fitness and improving their coordination. We see their confidence and skills in the water improve every week. They love the social side of the program too and are developing confidence socially – they love encouraging each other and having fun together, interacting with their peers and Age Group Nippers and participating actively in the community.


Our parents value that all children in the family can participate in the club’s Nippers program. They also find networking with other families who are raising a child with special needs invaluable and provide great support to each other.


Volunteer trainers
Our volunteer trainer find the experience valuable and rewarding. Not only have the youth in our club developed more understanding and skills in working with people with special needs, but they have also developed leadership skills and feel a great sense of making a worthwhile contribution. Some of our volunteers have been assisting the program for five seasons now. 


The Active Kids Voucher can be used for partial payment of the program, otherwise the annual cost can be found on our website:


Each family needs to have one parent become an Associate Member of the Fingal Beach SLSC. This is for insurance reasons. You can register by contacting the Club Registrar:

James Worrall


P: 0457 329 350

All Starfish are required to purchase a pink rash vest and skull cap from the merchandise stall. These are very important so that we can identify all participants both in the water and on the beach! It is always safety first on our beach!


  • We start at the Starfish Nippers Flag at 9.30am and will run until approximately 10.45am

  • We always appreciate any help to set-up (Our senior members are always excellent at lending a hand 😊). We have lots of equipment to take down to the beach such as boards, lifesaving tubes, balls, bats, obstacle courses and more! 

  • A parent needs to be on the beach with their child at all times- this is a rule for all nipper participants across Australia. Whilst it is very important for safety reasons, the parents of our participants find this a great time for chatting with other parents whilst sipping a well-deserved coffee!  

  • Each session we will hold beach and water activities, following the national Starfish Nippers program.

  • We really appreciate a hand to pack-up- many hands make light work!  

  • We have a private Starfish Facebook page- “Fingal Starfish Nippers” -search for us and ask to join! We will use this to let you know if our plans need to change because of conditions or it’s time to have an excursion elsewhere! 

  • We will conduct some of our days elsewhere like Shoal Bay, Fly Point or sometimes the pool- especially if there is a carnival on or the weather is not great. 

  • Wear your swimmers, starfish nippers cap and pink rash vest. 

  • Please ring me at any time if you need to chat about your child’s needs- this is best conducted in private as it’s not always the best location to chat around the club. 

  • Remember you are Fingal Beach Surf Lifesaving Club members so you are entitled to use all facilities during the season 7 days a week! (Gym is additional).