No Off Switch for Coromandel Surf Lifeguards

Thursday, 19 August 2021

16th August 2021

Press Release

No off switch for Coromandel lifeguards

While the memories of sunny days in our togs on some of our region’s most popular beaches are a distant thought for the majority of us right now as we huddle around our log fires, over 40 Coromandel lifeguards have just participated in a winter IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) Driver training weekend held last weekend by Surf Life Saving Eastern Region at Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

The candidates and instructors hailed from all over the North Island representing Surf Life Saving Clubs; Hot Water Beach, Pauanui, Onemana, Whangamata, Whiritoa, Waihi Beach, Mt Maunganui, Omanu and Papamoa. The weekend was the first in a series of winter IRB training events planned for the Coromandel/Bay of Plenty region’s Surf Lifeguards which are aimed at developing lifeguards IRB driving skills.  

Club Development Officer Poppy Crouch says; “Our rescue boats are used in approximately 70% of the rescues performed on NZ beaches and Surf Lifeguards are required to have a highly developed skill set to be able to safely negotiate these boats in and around both surf breaks and people. The Surf Lifeguards who attended this weekend are passionate about continuously up-skilling and refining their skills so they can be fit and equipped to provide a high level of service to our communities on the beaches this season”

The course was well received by both the instructor and driver candidates as Surf Lifeguards continuously work to polish up theirs skill. The driver candidates spent a lot of time in the boats working on skills, drills and techniques. The instructors were also able to include some personal development in their weekend by participating in an advanced IRB session. They learnt how to rescue patients from off the rocks in the IRB and also got to work on some IRB grid search patterns - both of which are pretty skilled techniques. These are usually reserved for Surf Lifeguards to learn to extend on their skills after they have completed and passed their IRB Drivers award.

“Surf Life Saving New Zealand Eastern Region will be working on providing development courses for our Surf Lifeguards across the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne areas over the next few months” Lifesaving Manager for the Eastern Region Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says.

“All course attendees are volunteers and were using their own time to upskill over this weekend. Our instructors play a really important role in upskilling our Surf Lifeguards to operate these rescue vessels safety, and the IRB development courses are a key part of our member development programme.” 

To help clubs with the cost of these workshops, Zespri are continuing their support for the Eastern Region. Regional Manager for the Eastern Region, Avan Polo says Zespri’s support directly helps develop the lifesaving skills of the Surf Lifeguards in the region.

“We are extremely appreciative of Zespri’s continued support of our Lifesaving development programme which enables us to continuously upskill and develop the Surf Lifeguards who will be on our regions beaches keeping our communities safe this summer.”

For further information about the upcoming courses in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne areas, check out the Surf Life Saving New Zealand website or contact the local Club Development Officer.


For more information please contact:

Avan Polo
Eastern Regional Manager
Phone: 021 773 542

Poppy Crouch
Club Development Officer - Coromandel
Phone: 0275 377 233

Rajal Middleton
Head of Commercial & Marketing
Phone 0274 571 001