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Surf Life Saving put safety first these holidays

Surf Life Saving reminds holiday-makers to put safety first

Thousands of Kiwis are packing their beach bags and getting ready to hit our shores as the holiday season moves into full swing.

Every summer, holiday-makers set off for New Zealand’s most popular hotspots as Surf Life Saving reminds people to take simple safety measures to keep safe at the beach. SLS provide patrols at 80 of New Zealand’s busiest beaches but just can’t be at every beach, all the time and encourage people to take responsibility for their own safety.

“The most effective safety tips are the precautionary ones,” says Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Geoff Barry.

“Lifeguards become involved in all sorts of incidents around our coastline and we encourage people to check out weather and tide conditions before heading to your destination. Do your homework and be prepared for the conditions.” says Barry.

Public education is an important part of making our coastline safer. Surf Life Saving provide patrols at our most popular beaches during the busiest periods of the day but people need to remember that patrols don’t make the beaches safe – they make them safer. Always treat water with respect, whether lifeguards are on patrol or not.

Contrary to popular belief big surf beaches are not the biggest cause of drowning. More than 50 per cent of rescues happen at beaches where the surf is less than half a metre. It’s not big surf alone that presents risk, it’s all moving water whether there are waves or not.

Since Labour Weekend this year Surf Lifeguards have rescued 212 people and put in over 39,000 volunteer hours. They’ve made over 7,380 preventative actions so far this summer to help make our favourite playground a safer place.

Surf Life Saving reminds people of the following safety tips:

Swim between the flags:
At a patrolled beach Surf Lifeguards have checked the conditions and put the red and yellow flags in the safest place to swim or play.

Check the conditions:
Make sure you do your homework and check out current and predicted weather and tide conditions. Always take the appropriate safety equipment with you to suit the conditions.

Always be aware around moving water:
Moving water is always a risk whether it’s at a surf beach or not. Water is pushed into the beach by waves and has to find a way back; the drag can catch people unaware even in relatively shallow water.

Be smart around rocks:
Whether fishing or exploring at the beach, rocky outcrops can be very dangerous in large surf. Always wear a life jacket. Don’t think the water will wash around you as moving water is always powerful. Never stand on a rock outcrop that is wet – a sure sign waves will be washing over it. Always face the sea, never turn your back to it, and always have a clear escape path to safe ground.

Be sun smart:
Remember to apply sunscreen before you go out into the sun and reapply every hour after you have been in the water.


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