Surf lifesavers having to rescue people stuck on walking tracks, lost in carparks

Surf lifesavers having to rescue people stuck on walking tracks, lost in carparks
Photo credit: Newshub.

People getting stuck on walking tracks near popular beaches are stretching the job of surf lifesavers.

In the northern region alone, 50 people were rescued by surf lifesavers in the period from the December 31st to January 6th.

Northern Region Surf Lifesaving CEO Matt Williams said people aren't using their common sense when heading out to the beach.

He said beaches on the west coast of Auckland were particular hotspots - 27 rescues were needed in the region on Saturday alone.

But it's not just the water that's proving difficult for some beachgoers to navigate.

"You look at Karekare and Piha beach - people get stuck on the walking tracks there," Mr Williams told RadioLIVE's Mike Puru.

He also said some searches have led lifeguards to people who've gone wandering in carparks, or off to the toilets.

"Where our area of work is growing is not just between the flags, it could be a mum or a friend comes up and says 'look, we've lost somebody' and they could be on a walking track, they could be in the car park."

Mr Williams also highlighted the need for greater funding in the mostly volunteer-based service.

"We're a thinly resourced organisation, we're largely resourced by volunteers, funding is always a struggle."

He said the Labour Government had been working with Surf Lifesaving to come to an agreement.

National MP Chris Penk launched a petition in late December calling on the Government to make Lifesaving a funded emergency service.

Mr Williams also reminded people to swim between the flags.

"If you're on an un-patrolled beach and you see someone in trouble, dial 111 and ask for police."


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