Westshore Lifeguard wins national surf lifesaving award

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The rescue of four teenagers at an unpatrolled Whakatane beach on December 28 has won 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. Kate O'Malley from Westshore Surf Life Saving Club in Napier has won the Central Region BP Rescue of the Month award for December as well as being the overall national winner.

Westshore lifeguard Kate O'Malley was on holiday in Whakatane when a woman ran into the campground screaming for help, as some children were caught in a rip at Ohiwa Beach.

Kate immediately responded and ran 150-200 metres to the unpatrolled beach and entered the rip without any lifesaving equipment. The surf was heavy at around 1.5 to two metres and the rip was very strong.

When Kate got out in to the surf, she found four teenagers dispersed over a wide area. She calmed them all down and then took the two most serious patients and towed them back to the shore.

Once on the beach, the patient's parents took over their care and, on Kate's instruction, placed them in the recovery position. She then re-entered the rip to rescue the other two patients.

On returning to shore, Kate continued care of all four patients who had inhaled water and were in shock. The ambulance arrived within five minutes and transported two of the patients to hospital for observation.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Chairman Geoff Hamilton says the extraordinary efforts shown by the Lifeguards was outstanding. "Admiration of 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.

BP Managing Director Matt Elliott says "BP's partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand is heading towards 50 years and their constant delivery of excellence has been a factor in all of those years- it is truly inspirational."

For more information about BP Rescue of the Month click. here

National winner- Westshore Surf Life Saving Club
Northern- Surf Life Saving Kariatotahi 
Eastern- Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service
Central- Westshore Surf Life Saving Club
Southern- Christchurch Regional Guards (Spencer Park)

For more information, please contact:

Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823