First responders often face traumatic and emotionally-taxing incidents in their role. Understanding their mental health and coping capacity is important for wellbeing and continued service delivery. Surf lifesavers and lifeguards are an under researched yet a vital part of the first responder workforce. The recent Senate Report on first responders explored mental health in the leading emergency services personnel in Australia and found a high incidence of mental health difficulties in those who worked or volunteered as emergency responders. However, a significant literature gap exists regarding mental health of surf lifesavers and lifeguards in both the international and Australian context. Here we propose a strategy to address this gap, at the individual, organisational and community level.