There's good news for Christchurch beach-goers currently experiencing unusually warm temperatures as local councils confirm an extension to the Regional Lifeguard Service.
The paid weekday Regional Lifeguard Service is a partnership programme delivered by Surf Life Saving and territorial local authorities during the busy summer months to supplement the volunteer weekend patrols and for Christchurch's local beaches, it was due to end today.
However with weather forecasters predicting temperatures up into 30 degrees next week and large numbers expected on the beaches, the Christchurch City and Waimakariri District Councils have extended the service into next week.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Southern Region Manager Stu Bryce says the service will cover Taylors Mistake, Sumner, New Brighton, Waimairi and Waikuku Beaches from 11am to 7pm on Monday to Wednesday.
"With a number of schools going back on different days throughout the week and the forecast for some of the hottest weather yet this year, the support from the two councils has allowed the service to continue on for the additional days, says Mr Bryce.
"We're very grateful for the support and I'm sure beach-goers will be able to better enjoy their day out knowing lifeguards are there to keep a close eye on them."
Mr Bryce says if people cannot get to a patrolled beach, or wait to swim during patrol hours, then they need to consider the dangers before entering the water.
"If you're at a remote location or you're the only one swimming, it's going to be that much harder to get help, and time can be the difference between life and death."
Key safety tips:
• Choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags (www.findabeach.co.nz)
• Always keep a very close eye on children in or near the water. Don't overestimate you or your children's ability to cope in the conditions. Preferably be in the water next to them at all times on a surf beach.
• Get a friend to swim with you - never swim or surf alone.
• Watch out for that rip- rips are calm, deep patches of water close to shore that can sometimes have waves breaking to the side. Rippled, discoloured or foamy water with debris can also mean there is a rip present.
• Be smart around rocks: whether fishing or exploring at the beach, rocky outcrops can be very dangerous in large surf. When fishing, always wear a lifejacket. Never stand on a rock outcrop that is already wet (a sure sign waves will be washing over it) and always face the ocean; never turn your back on the sea.
• If in doubt, stay out!
• If you spot someone in trouble at an unpatrolled beach, ensure your own safety and dial 111 and ask for Police.
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager, SLSNZ
Ph 0276-488-823 or email email@example.com
Stu Bryce, Southern Region Manager, SLSNZ
Ph 0275-571-012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org