Nine swimmers treated for blue bottle stings at Auckland's Bethells Beach

Surf lifeguards were kept busy over the weekend treating nine swimmers who were stung by blue bottle jellyfish, according to Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ).   

SLSNZ chief operations officer Chris Emmett said the stings happened at Auckland's Bethells Beach on Sunday.   

It was a busy day for lifeguards at the Auckland beach who were also involved in a search following an unsubstantiated report of three people trapped on rocks between Bethells Beach and Muriwai.  

Further south, surf lifeguards in Foxton responded to a rescue as the patrol was finishing for the day on Sunday, while lifeguards also performed notable rescues at Raglan, South Brighton, and Brighton.  

It comes as Emmett confirmed lifeguards across the country last weekend performed 22 rescues, with 18 of them coming on Sunday.  

He added of the 44 assists performed by surf lifeguards over the weekend, 42 of those occurred on Sunday.  

The reason the majority of rescues and assists occurred on Sunday is because wet weather in some parts of the country on Saturday, kept beachgoers away, while warm and sunny weather on Sunday saw a surge in beach activity and rescues, according to Emmett.  

Pāpāmoa lifeguards assisted 20 people back to shore throughout their patrol on Sunday as strong currents caused many swimmers to need rescuing while in Waihī, lifeguards assisted two people out of a rip by picking them up in an Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB).  

With the fine weather on Sunday, people flocked to the beaches in their droves. The surf lifesaving club in Ōmaha on Sunday reported 1400 beach users, the highest in the Northern Region.   

It was similar numbers at Oriental Bay in Wellington on Sunday, with lifeguards at Maranui Surf Life Saving Club reporting 1300 beach users at 3pm, while Mt Maunganui surf lifeguards had the busiest day in the Eastern Region, at one point having over 1400 people on their stretch of the beach.  

Taylors Mistake in Christchurch reported the Southern Region's highest beach numbers for Sunday, with a peak headcount of 618 people at 2pm.  

"Our surf lifeguards continue to perform incredibly well this season, dealing with a huge numbers of beachgoers as people make the most of warm weather and sunny skies before they return to work," Emmett said.  

"Beachgoers have on the whole been well-behaved, but we encourage the public to check to find a lifeguarded beach, and always swim between the red and yellow flags, which show the safest place to swim."