News

Weekend Wrap: Sunshine Brings the Crowds

Monday, 13 November 2023

Sunshine and warm weather made for a busy start to the patrol season for Christchurch Surf Life Saving clubs.

Surf lifeguards were officially on duty at Taylors Mistake Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC), Sumner SLSC, South Brighton SLSC, New Brighton SLSC, North Beach SLSC, Waimairi SLSC, Spencer SLSC, and Waikuku SLSC for the first time this season.

Despite hundreds of people heading to South Island beaches, the weekend saw no major incidents, with only three minor first aids. 

Stu Bryce, Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) Southern Regional Manager, said, “It’s great to see surf lifeguards on patrol in Canterbury, and the weather came to the party for the opening weekend with plenty of sunshine for beachgoers to enjoy.

“Otago SLSC’s were also in full swing with St Kilda SLSC reporting a significant number of people on the beach during Saturday afternoon.  However, there were no major incidents which just shows the incredible work our surf lifeguards do to keep everyone safe.”

In the Central Region, Westshore SLSC was the only club on patrol.  It was relatively quiet with no incidents to report.

Meanwhile, Eastern Region beaches were busy, particularly on Sunday.  During one incident, Waihi Beach Lifeguard Services Search and Rescue Squad assisted Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) and Hato Hone St John with a patient transfer.  It came after a person fell from a cliff, sustaining a head injury and broken tibia and fibula.  They were located at the bottom of the cliff in Anzac Bay, making it difficult for FENZ and Hato Hone St John to transport the patient overland to an ambulance.  Surf lifeguards assisted in the complicated transportation of the patient from their location of injury, into an inflatable rescue boat, and back to shore.

Avan Polo, SLSNZ Eastern Regional Manager, said, “This is a great example of SLSNZ working alongside other emergency response organisations, and using our specialist rescue skills.  Our surf lifeguards are an incredible resource beyond the red and yellow flags.”

Northern Region surf lifeguards had a busy weekend, with West Coast Surf Life Saving clubs rescuing several people from rips.  On Saturday, four surf lifeguards from Sunset Beach SLSC rescued five people from a flash rip just south of where the red and yellow flags were set up.  Two surf lifeguards from Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service also rescued two swimmers from a flash rip using a rescue watercraft.

Zac Franich, Surf Life Saving Northern Region General Manager, said, “Rips are a major hazard in New Zealand, and they can be deadly.  Spotting a rip can be extremely difficult which is why it’s important for people to swim between the red and yellow flags as that is the safest place to be.  However, if you do find yourself in a rip, try learning the 3Rs Rip Survival Plan: Relax and float, Raise your hand to signal for help, and Ride the rip until it stops.”

Looking ahead, Metservice is forecasting heavy rain for parts of the South Island this week with strong north-westerly winds, while the North Island enjoys settled beach-friendly weather under a ridge of high pressure.

 

Northern Region:

 

11 November, 2023

12 November, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

9

0

No. of people assisted

 

2

4

No. of major first aids

 

0

0

No. of minor first aids

 

0

8

No. of searches

 

0

0

No. of preventatives

 

99

66

No. of people involved

 

1477

915

Peak head count

 

830

1125

Hours on patrol

 

907

915

Eastern Region:

 

11 November, 2023

12 November, 2023

No. of people rescued

 

0

0

No. of people assisted

 

0

2

No. of major first aids

 

0

2

No. of minor first aids

 

0

7

No. of searches

 

0

1

No. of preventatives

 

22

13

No. of people involved

 

828

476

Peak head count

 

440

760

Hours on patrol

 

275

393

Central Region:

 

11 November, 2023

12 November, 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

 

3

0

No. of people involved

 

5

0

Peak head count

 

9

150

Hours on patrol

 

10

49

Southern Region:

 

11 November, 2023

12 November, 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

 

1

2

No. of searches

 

0

0

No. of preventatives

 

45

45

No. of people involved

 

246

264

Peak head count

 

500

330

Hours on patrol

 

436

519

 

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.