Surf Life Saving New Zealand has advised that all patrols have now ceased on New Zealand beaches and is asking people not to go swimming at the beach during the COVID-19 lockdown period to avoid putting themselves or volunteer Surf Lifeguards at risk.
Chief Executive Paul Dalton says all remaining beach patrols across the country stopped on March 23 and only Emergency Call Out Squads activated by the Police will be operating during the lockdown.
He says all surf clubs across the country have closed.
“There will be no lifeguards on the beach,” Mr Dalton says. “People need to be aware that the hazards Surf Lifeguards work hard to protect swimmers from, are still there.
“Please do not go swimming at the beach. If people get into trouble in the water, it will stretch our emergency services who need to focus on dealing with COVID-19 and daily non-preventable emergencies.
“We also need to think about our emergency and medical personnel. They are putting themselves at risk on a daily basis and giving up time with their families in order to keep New Zealand safe.”
If you do see a person in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for the police and advise that it is a water/beach emergency – they are in direct contact with all Surf Lifesaving NZ’s Emergency Callout Squads and Coastguard.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand supports the message from police commissioner Mike Bush who said on Wednesday, March 25 that people should not drive to the beach. Mr Bush said people should only be going out in their cars to get essential supplies.
People who do want to exercise and get fresh air should do so in low risk environments – which means staying out of, and off, the water. This includes not taking part in activities such as rock fishing, fishing from a boat, surfing, kite surfing, knee/body boarding, SUP, paddling, snorkelling and diving etc.
Stay home. Save lives.
For more information, please contact:
Media and Communications Manager
Surf Life Saving New Zealand
021 757 433