Community spirit is alive and well in the Capital Coast where Surf Lifeguards are rallying together to help Foxton Surf Life Saving Club deliver lifeguarding services this summer.
The small Surf Life Saving Club at Foxton Beach has only a small number of lifeguards to cover its voluntary weekend patrols this season.
Identifying the need to assist, the Capital Coast Local Lifesaving Committee put a plan together to get lifeguards throughout the area sharing the workload and the first joint patrol took place successfully last weekend.
The Capital Coast area covers 10 Surf Life Saving Clubs, stretching from Himatangi Beach on the west coast to Wellington City on the south coast and Riversdale Beach on the east coast.
Nick Mulcahy, Lifesaving Coordinator at Titahi Bay SLSC and Chair of the Capital Coast Local Lifesaving Committee says "Surf Life Saving is all about giving our time and energy to help keep local communities safer at the beach, so when we saw the need to help out our own Surf Lifeguards, we didn't hesitate to come up with a plan."
Three rotations will operate over full weekends this season at Foxton Beach, with patrols operating between 1-5pm.
The first rotation involves Foxton Patrol 1 with assistance from Levin-Waitarere Surf Life Saving Club.
The second rotation involves Foxton Patrol 2 with assistance from Palmerston North Surf Life Saving Club. Additional resource will be provided to the two rotations by lifeguards living locally, or nearby.
A third rotation will then be delivered by other Surf Life Saving Clubs in the Capital Coast; each of them taking turns in providing two or three lifeguards each weekend of their patrol.
Mr Mulcahy says this roster will ensure that those travelling a considerable distance can plan in advance and utilise the opportunity to upskill other members.
"It also enables Foxton Surf Life Saving Club members to have a full weekend off to ensure they don't burn out, as well as ensuring that Levin-Waitarere and Palmerston North Surf Life Saving Clubs aren't overburdened with providing assistance," he says.
The first of the weekends patrolled by other Surf Life Saving Clubs has just been completed with 14 Surf Lifeguards from Titahi Bay, Maranui and Foxton Surf Life Saving Clubs ensuring the red and yellow flags remained on the beach.
Mr Mulcahy says during the weekend, Foxton Beach was buzzing with activity, with a number of people out swimming, surfing and fishing.
"The lifeguards undertook a number of preventative actions, which included alerting members of the public to rip currents and recommending they swim between the red and yellow flags."
With the weekend also doubling as a development opportunity, the lifeguards were also able to upskill in the Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB), undertake incident scenario training and utilise Foxton Surf Life Saving Club's award winning water surveillance camera.
"It was great for members of the different Surf Life Saving Clubs to come together and gain new experiences, assist one another and provide a patrolled area for the community and visitors at Foxton Beach," Mulcahy says.
Any local lifeguards wishing to get involved should cntact their Lifesaving Coordinator.
The additional patrols and development weekends come at a cost, and anyone who would like to assist should contact Nick Mulcahy on 027 780 0096.
Click here to view photos from the weekend.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager,
Phone 0276 488 823