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Surf Life Saving Northern Region - Holiday Weekend Summary And Statistics For 25-28 December 2020

Weekend summary

Lifeguards have been working hard across the region to keep beach visitors safe and report less rescues than this time last year.

Lifeguards have been kept bust assisting people using paddle boards and inflatables that they may not be familiar with using. Offshore winds create can create dangerous conditions for those using any flotation device and those using them should not go out further than standing depth.

A challenge for lifeguards on the East Coast Beaches has been Jet skis operating too close to the shore and in some cases close to the flagged area. Ōrewa lifeguards assisted the Harbourmaster by talking to a jetski who was speeding too close to the shore, towing a sled with people on.

With beach number high at this time of year it is important for people to swim at a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags. The SafeSwim website is a great tool for people to use to see where their nearest lifeguarded beach is.

Day summaries

Friday 25 December - Christmas Day - Summary

For a day that has historically been very busy, Christmas Day was fairly tame with just a few incidents most of which were non-urgent. The day started with the MDT alerting us to a male who had tripped on some rocks at Bowentown at Waihi Beach and fractured his hip. The patient was stuck on the rocks with an incoming tide, lifeguards (one of which was a paramedic) launched an IRB and headed round to the patient who was later airlifted from the rocks by Westpac Rescue. While liaising with Waihi Beach about the incident at Bowentown, Kariaotahi called SurfCom to advise of a disturbance on the beach with two motorcyclists who were starting to “get up in each other’s faces.” Police were alerted to the situation however, by the time they arrived at Kariaotahi Beach the motorcyclists had departed. Ruakaka advised SurfCom early this afternoon of another motorcycle disturbance on the stretch of coastline between Uretiti and Ruakaka, the motorcyclist was believed to have been drinking alcohol at Uretiti before riding up the beach to Ruakaka, straight past the no driving sign and attempting to go straight between the flagged area. Again, police were advised via the non-urgent phone number and they sent a crew to Uretiti to ask the motorcyclists to move on.

Yet another disturbance occurred at Takapuna when a personal jet ski was speeding through the flagged area. The police maritime unit were informed by SurfCom and promptly sent a boat to educate the driver of the rules around appropriate speeds for all vessels.

There was one major first aid at Ruakaka after a 14-year-old girl cut her foot. Lifeguards treated the wound and then referred the patient to a doctor as they believed she was requiring stitches. Muriwai had a search after a child had lost their parents; lifeguards walked with the child back to the campground where their parents were found. Karekare also had an assist after a flash rip appeared in between their flags, one female was caught in the rip and was assisted back to shore by a lifeguard who performed a tube rescue.

Long Bay had the day’s highest headcount with a peak of 850; Muriwai also performed an impressive 145 preventative actions involving 675 members of the public due to a strong current making it difficult for people to stay between the flags. Muriwai performed one minor first aid and Karekare had three.

25 December - statistics

No. of people rescued0
No. of people assisted1
No. of major first aids1
No. of minor first aids4
No. of searches1
No. of preventatives509
No. of number involved2322
No. of peak head count4404
No. of hours worked625
No. of closing time1.625

Saturday 26 December - Summary

One rescue occurred at Raglan. The patient fell off a sandbar 20m from shore and was immediately rescued by a lifeguard via tube.

There were four assists at Orewa involving some paddle boarders who were swept out and struggling to get back in due to the wind. One assist was at Mairangi, but they did not report anything on the SPA.

There were seven Minor first aids. Two were at Kariaotahi involving patients who fell off bikes while going up and down the beach. Two were at Red Beach with no further information reported. One was at Wenderholm where the patient fell and hit her head. Ice and first aid applied, no further action. Two were at Mairangi but no report on SPA.

There was one Major first aid at Bethells, patient had an ankle injury and an ambulance responded to the beach.

26 December - statistics

No. of people rescued1
No. of people assisted5
No. of major first aids1
No. of minor first aids8
No. of searches0
No. of preventatives165
No. of number involved1327
No. of peak head count6218
No. of hours worked1504.9

Sunday 27 December - Summary

There were three major first-aids today. Two at Omaha, one was a fish hook stuck into the top of a foot. They couldn’t remove the hook so covered it up and sent the patient to A&E. The other first aid was a gash to the knee, which lifeguards put steri-strips on and patched up, sending the patient home. The last major first aid was at Orewa, patient cut his thumb open so lifeguards patched it up and sent them to the doctor.

There were five minor first aids. Two were at Kariaotahi, both from blue bottle stings. one was at Piha, one at Long Bay, and one at Red Beach, neither reported with notes.

There were six assists. one at Mairangi, 300m from the beach a paddle boarder was taken back to the shore by IRB. One was at Pakiri where a drunk male was assisted out of the water as he was stumbling out himself. Two were at Omaha, assisting paddle boarders and inflatables that had blown out to sea due to strong winds. One was at Karekare and one at Raglan, but neither were reported and noted via SPA.

There was one search at Pakiri. A child was lost, but was found in the dunes six minutes after the search was reported.

27 December - statistics

No. of people rescued0
No. of people assisted6
No. of major first aids3
No. of minor first aids5
No. of searches1
No. of preventatives181
No. of number involved855
No. of peak head count5513
No. of hours worked1432.15

Monday 28 December - Summary

A busy day for our lifeguards today, with 17/22 beaches reporting a peak headcount in the triple figures. Ōrewa assisted the Harbourmaster by talking to a jetski who was speeding too close to the shore, towing a sled with people on. The jetski operator was not very happy to be spoken to, and Coastguard Duty Officer Carolyn said we should expect more calls about over-excited jetskis operating too close to the shore. Much of the east coast were reporting offshore winds, which helped set loose a large pink inflatable flamingo at Ōrewa. Thankfully, no people were on board, but the flamingo was last seen being blown up the coast at speed towards Waiwera.

Coastguard alerted SurfCom to a report of a kite surfer in trouble at Raglan. A member of the public spotted the kite surfer on the Raglan bar, unable to get their kite back in the air. Raglan sent an IRB who brought the man safely back to shore.

Shannon on flags at Kariaotahi noticed a six-year-old boy playing between the flags get swept off his feet by a wave just before 5pm. She ran in to pick the boy up and assist him back to shallow water.

28 December - statistics

No. of people rescued0
No. of people assisted2
No. of major first aids0
No. of minor first aids12
No. of searches0
No. of preventatives453
No. of number involved1493
No. of peak head count5734
No. of hours worked695
No. of closing time0

Weekend total - Statistics

No. of people rescued2
No. of people assisted14
No. of major first aids5
No. of minor first aids26
No. of searches1
No. of preventatives1308
No. of number involved5,997
No. of peak head count21,869
No. of hours worked4,257.05

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