Surf lifeguards roll out volunteer beach patrols Labour Weekend
With the surf lifesaving season official launched on Saturday, 22 October, surf lifeguards are readying themselves for a busy summer. The beaches of Coromandel Peninsula are no exception.
Labour weekend just past is the traditional start to the patrol season for most areas of the North Island, including the Coromandel Peninsula. Beaches elsewhere will be patrolled as the weather and water conditions get warmer.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is urging beachgoers to choose a beach where there are lifeguards and swim between the flags, as that’s the safest place to swim. SLSNZ’s chief executive Paul Dalton says, “NIWA is predicting a strong marine heatwave summer, so we are expecting another busy season like last year. Last year our patrols rescued 726 people, and despite a record number of drownings across the country, there were zero drownings between our red and yellow flags.”
Over the last 10 years, 89% of fatal beach drownings in Aotearoa New Zealand were male.
SLSNZ says that's more than 300 dads, sons, brothers, husbands and mates, and enough is enough. Too often men underestimate the conditions and overestimate their ability. This ‘she’ll be right’ attitude gets too many men into trouble in the water, often with fatal consequences.
“New Zealanders love the coast. Sadly, in the last ten years, there have been 357 beach and coastal fatal drownings in New Zealand. Each fatality leaves whanau and communities devastated. Our drowning toll is something every New Zealander should see as a national tragedy and one we all have a responsibility to address.”
SLSNZ asks those visiting our beaches to remain vigilant in and around the water and stresses the importance of making safe decisions at beaches. People can check the Safeswim - Nau mai ki Safeswim website: safeswim.org.nz for patrol hours and locations.
Keep it safe, stay within your limits. Be sure to watch out for rip currents that can carry you away from shore, be smart around rocks, don’t overestimate your ability in the water, and never swim or surf alone.
Beach Safety Messages
Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and 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
When rock fishing, always wear a lifejacket and shoes with grip (no gumboots), and never turn your back towards the sea
If in doubt, stay out!
If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for the Police
Be sun smart – slip, slop, slap and wrap to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s damaging rays.