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Water safety signs installed on Auck.’s west coast

New water safety signs installed at Auckland’s west coast beaches

22 December 2005

The ARC, Waitakere City Council and Surf Lifesaving Northern Region have installed new signs at Auckland’s west coast beaches that highlight and provide water safety information.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chair Sandra Coney says the new signs have been installed this week at Piha, Karekare, Whites Beach - Anawhata, and Muriwai beaches.

“The west coast of Auckland is accessible to the largest population in the country and includes a number of high energy surf beaches. These are safe if people know and follow the rules, and show respect for the natural elements. If they don’t, it can be fatal.”

“Since 1980, 82 lives have been claimed through drowning on west coast beaches.

“Local authorities have a responsibility to warn people of risks on their beaches. We are also aware that people do not want the natural environment littered with signs, so we’ve worked with communities and designed the signs to be noticed without offending people’s enjoyment of the beauty of the West Coast.”

Cr Coney says together, the ARC, Waitakere City Council and Surf Life Saving Northern Region have created the new water safety signage complying with the New Zealand Safety Signage Standard 8690: 2003.

The new signs have standardised international symbols,so international and mulit-lingual visitors can still understand them.

The signs have three primary purposes:

- To inform people about significant coastal hazards at the site.

- They have a unique numbering system so emergency services can easily identify the location.

- To inform people about lifeguard and emergency services at the location.

The symbols are specifically diamond shaped to communicate they are a hazard sign and people should pay attention to them.

Each site has been risk assessed and there are three sign types. The location and the placement of signage will dictate which of the three sign types will be used.

- Vehicle access sign - These will be located in prime catchment locations such as car parks and vehicle access points so visitors are informed on important information before undertaking water activities.

- Pedestrian access sign - These will be placed near pedestrian access points, in a clearly visible position.

- Identified Hazard sign - Stand-alone hazard symbols warning visitors of specific dangers.

Waitakere City Council and ARC have worked together and met with residents and local community groups to coordinate messages and agree upon the style of signs.

Surf Life Saving Northern Region offers an Aquatic Risk Consultancy service which can produce recommendations on risk management and signage, see www.lifesaving.org.nz.


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