‭0411 239 575‬ info AT starfishnippers.com.au Established by Anglesea SLSC 2011
  • Featured Posts
    25 Dec 2020
    As the Starfish Nipper program grows around Victoria and Australia recognition of our programs is growing. We were extremely honoured and excited for our program to be recognised a ‘Highly Commended’...
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  • Featured Posts
    07 Jun 2020
    One of our favourite photos shows some of our Starfish Nippers learning about helping each other and working together as they head out of the water at Anglesea Main Beach.
  • Featured Posts
    07 Jan 2020
    Learn more about the program, see what it looks like in action, and hear some incredible interviews with volunteers and parents. Starfish Nippers Video Overview    

The Starfish Nipper Program

Starfish Nippers Australia, the life saving skills program designed for children and young adults with a disability 6 years and older.

The program aims to give young people with disabilities beach safety and water awareness skills.

“We believe every young person deserves to have access to the SLSA Nippers program. The Starfish program allows all young people to be part of a nippers program where they can learn critical beach skills while having fun and learning important life skills such as teamwork.

Started in 2011 by volunteers at the Anglesea SLSC, the Starfish Nippers program successfully operates alongside our club’s popular Age Group Nippers program. This innovative and important program has now been taken up by around 20 clubs across Australia.”

The program caters for students with numerous disabilities including Autism, Asperger’s and Down Syndrome.

Starfish Nippers is a modified and structured nippers program for all abilities that runs alongside a club’s Age Group Nippers program and focuses on beach and water safety and awareness and promotes inclusion and diversity. It features modified Nippers beach and water activities such as games, running, beach flags, wading, swimming and boards as well as activities with the club’s Age Group Nippers. The program is run entirely by volunteers at lifesaving clubs around Australia

The program is designed for young people aged 6 years and above with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties, and can be modified to suit an individual participant’s needs so everyone can be included.

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. In many cases, Starfish have been spectators up until now, watching their siblings participate in the Age Group Nippers program. 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 with every session. 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 highly 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 a disability invaluable, and provide great support to each other with the challenges they face.

Our trainers find the experience valuable and rewarding. Not only have the youth in our club developed more understanding and skills in working with people with a disability, they have developed leadership skills and feel a great sense of making a worthwhile contribution.

Age Group Nippers
Our Age Group Nippers are learning the importance of inclusion and how to connect with people with a disability. They are acting as role models and learning skills in leadership. They find the experience valuable and rewarding.

Our club has been able to keep junior members engaged, and has also benefited from increased support from the wider community and generous financial donations to help run the program.

Begin Making A Difference

Any Australian Surf Lifesaving Club can begin a Starfish Nipper Program

The Starfish Nipper Program is a fantastic way to promote diversity and celebrate the differences of individuals at your Life Saving Club.

There are a number of clubs around Australia that are running the Starfish Nipper Program at their club, you can too. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.