Surf Life Saving New Zealand implores beachgoers to choose a lifeguarded beach & swim between the flags

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is pleading with  beachgoers to visit to choose beaches patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the red and yellow flags to prevent more beach fatalities this summer.

SLSNZ’s Chief Operations Officer Chris Emmett says, “Our hearts go out to those who have lost a family member.  All of the incidents this past week have occurred outside of the patrol flags or outside of patrol times and locations, and could have been avoided.

“We have two long weekends, Auckland Anniversary and Waitangi Day, coming up and we know people will want to head to the beach. Last year our patrols rescued 726 people, and despite a record number of drownings across the country, there were no drownings between our red and yellow flags.

“To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, we ask you to head to a beach where there are lifeguards and swim between the flags, as that’s the safest place to swim.”

Beachgoers can check the Safeswim website, see for patrol hours and locations; it has over 90 Lifeguard Patrol locations across the country.

Chris Emmett says, “Keep it safe, keep it smart, and stay within your limits. Be sure to watch out for rip currents that can carry you away from shore and be smart around rocks. Please don’t overestimate your ability in the water, and never swim or surf alone.”

If you observe someone in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for the Police. They are in direct contact with all the marine rescue services around the country.

Beach Safety Messages

  • Go to to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red & yellow flags.
  • Watch out for rip currents. They can carry you away from shore. If caught in a rip, remember the 3Rs: *Relax and float, *Raise your hand to signal for help and *Ride the rip until help arrives, or you can swim back to shore
  • Read and understand the safety signs – ask a surf lifeguard for advice, as beach conditions can change regularly
  • Know your limits/ Don’t overestimate your ability or underestimate the conditions
  • Always keep a very close eye on young children in or near the water. Keep children within arm’s reach at all times
  • Get a friend to swim, surf or fish  with you
  • If in doubt, stay out!
  • If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for the Police

 For further information, please contact:

Rob McGregor


0292 372 676

Media Liaison


Surf Life Saving New Zealand



About Surf Life Saving New Zealand

Surf Life Saving New Zealand is the leading beach and coastal safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority in Aotearoa. We are truly unique, delivering proactive lifeguarding and essential emergency rescue services, a range of public education beach safety programmes, member education, training, and development, as well as a highly respected sport.