Rescue of grateful kayakers earns club third place in BP Rescue of the Month

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Volunteer Surf Lifeguards Tyler Ranger, right, was the IRB driver during a rescue that earned Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club
third place in BP Rescue of the Month for December 2019.

Volunteer Surf Lifeguards from Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club had packed up for the day when they were alerted to a double kayak with two people on board that had capsized approximately 500m offshore.

The pair were part of a kayak tour and the alarm had been raised by a tour guide.

It was December 8, 2019, at around 4pm and a prevailing cross-offshore wind meant the pair were drifting further out to sea.

Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club has earned third place in December’s BP Rescue of the Month for the resulting rescue.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand invites clubs to submit their rescues to be judged for the title of BP Rescue of the Month, which recognises operational excellence by Surf Lifeguards around the country.

Once the alarm was raised volunteer Surf Lifeguards Tyler Ranger and Tom Lowe reassembled the IRB (inflatable rescue boat) and headed out around the corner to the south beach, where the kayakers were still in the water, 2km from the Surf Club.

As the IRB headed out, Surf Lifeguards Isaac Chadwick, Caity Alison and Maggie Lowe followed the IRB via the beach in an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) with a resuscitation pack and defibrillator.

When Tyler and Tom reached the upturned kayak, they found one person in a reasonable condition and a second who was deteriorating rapidly.

Both people were rescued immediately and returned to shore where the man who was worse off was given oxygen and wrapped in a survival blanket to try and return his vital signs to normal.

He was continually monitored whilst being transported to the surf club first aid room in the ATV.

St John Ambulance then transported the man to the local medical centre for assessment.

Club Captain Max Jones says two hours later, the man returned to the surf club and was extremely grateful for the surf Lifeguard's efforts – they had already carried out six hours of volunteer patrolling when the incident happened.

Before leaving, the man asked the Surf Lifeguards if he could "get a photo with the guys who saved my life?".

Max says if the volunteer Surf Lifeguards weren’t there it is “highly likely” the incident would have resulted in the death of one if not both kayakers.

The Surf Lifeguards involved will be recognised with $200 worth of BP gift vouchers for their club.

“BP has been in partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand for 52 years and we are incredibly proud to support their heroic efforts in keeping New Zealanders safe,” BP NZ Managing Director Debi Boffa says.

“This rescue is yet another example of the huge difference Surf Life Guards make on beaches all over the country.”

Ruakaka and Waipu Cove Surf Lifesaving Clubs placed first and will share $500 worth of BP gift cards. United North Piha Lifeguard Service will receive $300 worth for placing second.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand supports the advice given by Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers President Shaun Maclaren.

“It is extremely important that paddlers carry two waterproof types of communication so that they can call for help when in difficulty.

“Check the weather before launching and only paddle in conditions that match your skills.”



For more information please contact:

Melanie Louden
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving New Zealand
021 757 433