Assisting a surfer out of a rip and preventing further swimmers from getting into strife has won Raglan lifeguards a national surf lifesaving award.
Each month, Surf Life Saving New Zealand selects a winning rescue from each region as well as an overall national winner for the title of BP Rescue of the Month. The Raglan Surf Life Saving Club has won the Northern Region BP Rescue of the Month award for March as well as being the overall national winner.
After a busy day of teaching Beach Education, lifeguards Sarah Sharp and Olivia Tobin were relaxing when Sarah went out onto the deck of the surf club to have a look at the beach.
She spotted a group of six to seven learner surfers and two swimmers who were caught in a rip. After watching for a short period of time, she could see that they weren't making any progress while trying to return to the shore.
She immediately called Olivia and after promptly setting up the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), they headed down the hill and along the beach towards the rip. By this time, most of the swimmers had made their own way into the shallow water, although one surfer was still paddling against the current.
Due to the low tide, a member of the public assisted in the shallow water before the boat was able to be started. When the lifeguards reached the patient, a French tourist, he was clearly struggling and asked for assistance back to the beach. He was picked up by the boat and returned to shore, with no further assistance required.
Just as the lifeguards were getting ready to load the IRB back onto the trailer, they spotted a couple approximately 30m up the beach, knee-deep in water, who were about to go for a swim in the same rip. Sarah performed a preventative action, advising the tourists of the danger and how to identify a rip.
It is likely that the patient would have made it back to shore without assistance, however it would have taken much longer and he would have become very tired. Completing a preventative action also reduced the likelihood of further swimmers getting into difficulty in the same location.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Chairman Geoff Hamilton says the efforts shown by the Lifeguards was admirable. "The skill and professionalism shown by those involved in the incident is testament to qualities valued by Surf Life Saving New Zealand and BP," he says.
The club receives a $500 fuel voucher from BP to help with the financial costs of keeping communities safe in the water.
For more information about BP Rescue of the Month click here.
Northern- Raglan (National)
Eastern- Mount Maunganui
Central- Lyall Bay
Southern- Spencer Park
Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist,
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823