Busy start to season for surf lifeguards with multiple rescues, assists

The start of the season is being compared well to the weekend's road toll.
The start of the season is being compared well to the weekend's road toll. Photo credit: Newshub.

Surf lifeguards have had a busy start to the season, with seven rescues and three assists in the country's northern region over Labour weekend.

Regular patrols returned to northern beaches this weekend as Kiwis made the most of the sunny weather to get their togs on and take a dip.

Over the weekend, seven people were rescued - six of which were on Monday - at Sunset Beach, Raglan and Muriwai.

"Sunset had three rescues just after patrol hours, when the club was advised that three people had been caught in a rip and were being swept out to sea," a statement from Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) says.

"Sunset responded in two IRBs and Kariaotahi also responded in an IRB. Westpac Rescue Helicopter also responded but was later stood down and the patients were transported to hospital via ambulance under lights."

One of three people who required assistance was a young boy at Mairangi Bay pretending to be a shark in the flags and who "managed to swim out his depth".

"Lifeguards assisted him back to shore safely". 

SLSNR chief executive Matt Williams said the number of rescues and assists showed the value of having lifeguards stationed at the beaches. 

"But we can celebrate the fact that the beachgoing public had a relatively trouble-free time at the beach, with successful rescues completed where they did get into difficulties," Williams said.

"If you compare that with the road toll for the weekend, we are very pleased that our systems and practices avoided similar tragic outcomes in the water."

It was a devastating weekend on New Zealand's roads, with six people being killed and many others seriously injured. In 2019, just one person was killed over the period.

Weekend total:

  • People rescued: 7
  • People assisted: 3
  • Major first-aids: 1
  • Minor first-aids: 17
  • Searches: 8
  • Preventative actions: 735
  • Number of people involved in preventative actions: 4601
  • Peak head count: 18405
  • Hours worked: 3536.7
  • People at beaches at patrol close: 1794