News

Weekend Wrap: Surf Lifeguards Busy On And Off The Water

Monday, 11 December 2023

It was a busy weekend for surf lifeguards, with blue sky luring thousands of people to the coast.

 

Beaches became a magnet for all sorts of activities, with beachgoers swimming, celebrating birthdays, diving, and sunbathing.  Surf lifeguards were put through a number of challenges, showcasing their wide-ranging skills.

 

On Saturday, surf lifeguards at Hawke’s Bay Waimārama Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) rescued seven people who got into difficulty while swimming in front of the SLSC. Meanwhile in the Manawatū, surf lifeguards at Palmerston North SLSC rescued two people who lost their footing while swimming between the red and yellow flags.  Strong currents dragged them out to sea, but two surf lifeguards responded quickly, and they were returned to shore unharmed.

 

Charlie Cordwell, SLSNZ Central Region Manager, said, “It was a busy Saturday for Central Region surf lifeguards, but they all did a fantastic job.  With summer starting to settle in and more people heading to the beach its important people check safeswim.org.nz before heading out, find a lifeguarded beach, and swim between the red and yellow flags.  Surf lifeguards constantly scan the area for hazards and keep a close eye on those enjoying the coastline so they’re able to respond quickly if people do get themselves into trouble.”

 

In the Eastern Region, surf lifeguards had a busy weekend marked by three major first aids.  On Sunday they helped a 75-year-old woman who had fallen near the summit of Mauao.  Transporting her down on foot, the surf lifeguards provided immediate medical assistance.

 

Avan Polo, Eastern Region Manager, said, “Mauao is an iconic feature of Mount Maunganui and is located right on the doorstep of Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service.  Because of this, surf lifeguards are often tasked by police to help people who get themselves into difficulty as they make their way to the summit.  Although these incidents occur away from the water’s edge, this shows how surf lifeguards are able to handle diverse challenges beyond the water’s edge.”

 

This versatility was also shown in the Northern Region on Saturday with surf lifeguards responding to a number of different tasks.  These included assisting a young boy with asthma who did not have access to his inhaler, helping a freediver who was unable to make it back to shore, supporting the police in managing a group of dirt bikers posing a threat to beachgoers, and reuniting a family after they became separated on the beach. 

 

While the red and yellow flags show where the main patrol zone is, this weekend’s events showed the extensive responsibilities shouldered by surf lifeguards.

 

Northern Region:

 

9 December, 2023

10 December, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

0

0

No. of people assisted

 

9

0

No. of major first aids

 

0

1

No. of minor first aids

 

4

13

No. of searches

 

2

0

No. of preventatives

 

137

39

No. of people involved

 

1,560

756

Peak head count

 

550

875

Hours on patrol

 

1,129

1,137

 

Eastern Region:

 

9 December, 2023

10 December, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

0

0

No. of people assisted

 

0

1

No. of major first aids

 

1

2

No. of minor first aids

 

0

5

No. of searches

 

3

1

No. of preventatives

 

46

38

No. of people involved

 

746

1,777

Peak head count

 

545

364

Hours on patrol

 

582

710

 

 

Central Region:

 

9 December, 2023

10 December, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

9

0

No. of people assisted

 

0

0

No. of major first aids

 

0

0

No. of minor first aids

 

1

0

No. of searches

 

0

0

No. of preventatives

 

56

34

No. of people involved

 

723

216

Peak head count

 

400

220

Hours on patrol

 

546

650

 

Southern Region:

 

9 December, 2023

10 December, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

0

0

No. of people assisted

 

0

0

No. of major first aids

 

0

0

No. of minor first aids

 

0

0

No. of searches

 

0

0

No. of preventatives

 

48

26

No. of people involved

 

750

193

Peak head count

 

371

70

Hours on patrol

 

589

529

 

 

SLSNZ Beach and Coastal Safety Messages

 

  1. Know How To Float

If you don’t know how to float, don’t go into the water. Just being able to float when you are in the water can increase your chance of survival. Floating allows you to calm yourself and keep your airways out of the water. Practice or get some lessons in the pool before you head to the beach.

 

  1. Find The Safest Place To Swim

Check safeswim.org.nz to find a lifeguarded beach, and always swim between the red and yellow flags.

 

  1. If In Doubt, Stay Out

Waves can be bigger than they look, and weather conditions can change quickly. If you feel uncomfortable about getting into the water, stay out.

 

  1. Take Care of Others

Always keep children within arm’s reach in or near the water. Waves can move quickly and unexpectedly and can knock kids off their feet and sweep them away.

 

  1. Know How to Get Help

If someone in the water is in trouble and surf lifeguards are on patrol, let them know. If you can’t see any surf lifeguards, call 111 and ask for police. If you’re in the water and in trouble yourself, signal for help.