Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Don’t become a statistic this summer

Don’t become a statistic this summer

The second highest number of drowning fatalities last year occurred on beaches; one more compared to 2015 and three more than the five year average. With 21 beach drownings in 2016, it is the highest beach toll since 2011.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton says last summer was one of the worst in many years with 19 beach drownings between Labour Weekend and Easter- up 36% (five drownings) on the previous summer, despite the poor weather keeping many people out of the water.

“From these grim statistics, people clearly need to take their own safety at beaches far more seriously,” he says.

So as the country’s thousands of volunteer lifeguards prepare to put up the red and yellow flags, they are urging people to choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags in an effort to break the trend.

The Surf Life Saving season officially begins this Labour Weekend with patrols beginning in parts of the upper North Island and continuing to roll out across the lower North Island and into the South Island as the weather warms up.

Since 1910 volunteer lifeguards have been committed to making New Zealand’s beaches safer for everyone to enjoy and today, there are nearly 5,000 lifeguards patrolling over 80 locations nationwide.

Mr Dalton says it’s disappointing to see the increasing drowning rates but one statistic remains the same year on year; zero drownings between the flags.

“While we may sound like a broken record, there is a very important reason why we urge people to choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags. The fact is, it is always the safest place to swim,” he says.

Over the 2016/17 summer season, Surf Lifeguards around the country rescued 612 people from life-threatening situations and assisted another 1,184 back to safety.

Mr Dalton says there are two important risks that people need to keep in mind when heading to the beach this summer.

“So often, the people we are rescuing have overestimated their ability and underestimated the risk and before they know it, they are in trouble. Take a moment to stop and think before entering the water and if in doubt, stay out,” he says.

Rips are also a major problem along our coastlines and every year around 80 percent of rescues are the result of someone getting caught in one.

“Lifeguards will always assess the beach conditions and put the flags in the safest place and move them about as conditions change throughout the day. Don’t be fooled by calm patches which are a sure sign of a rip being present,” he says.

Anyone who finds themselves caught in a rip should lie on their back and raise their hand to signal for help. Try to fight the urge to swim against the current; this will use up energy that you need to stay afloat while the emergency services arrive. Most people can float for a lot longer than they can swim! If you spot someone in a rip at an unpatrolled beach, ensure your own safety and call 111 and ask for Police.

For more information about Surf Life Saving and patrol locations visit www.surflifesaving.org.nz.

Key safety messages:

• Choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags (www.findabeach.co.nz)
• Keep children within arm’s reach at all times. Don’t overestimate you or your children’s ability to cope in the conditions.
• Never swim or surf alone.
• Watch out for rips- calm, deep patches of water close to shore that can sometimes have waves breaking to the side. Rippled, discoloured or foamy water with debris can also mean there is a rip present.
• Be smart around rocks: whether fishing or exploring at the beach, rocky outcrops can be very dangerous in large surf. When fishing, always wear a lifejacket. Never stand on a rock outcrop that is already wet (a sure sign waves will be washing over it) and always face the ocean; never turn your back on the sea.
• If in doubt, stay out!
• If you spot someone in trouble at an unpatrolled beach, ensure your own safety and dial 111 and ask for Police.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Mayor of Auckland: Alert Level Change Welcome News

Mayor Phil Goff says the government’s decision to move Auckland to Level 2 from 6am on Sunday will be welcome news for all Aucklanders.
“Moving strongly and quickly to contain this outbreak has once again proved effective in stopping the spread of community transmission and I thank all the Aucklanders who have followed the rules of Level 3 over the past week,” he says... More>>


Earthquakes: Tsunami Activity – Cancelled

The National Advisory issued at 2:48pm following this morning's earthquakes near the KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION is cancelled.
The advice from GNS Science, based on ocean observations, is that the Beach and Marine threat has now passed for all areas... More>>

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels