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Surf Life Saving Northern Region - Christmas-New Year Holiday Period Summary

A summary of the action at SLSNR's beaches over the Christmas-New Year holiday period follows, along with a wrap up on the New Year's weekend just been.


Dangerous use of jetskis near swimmers and issues relating to water quality have challenged Surf Life Saving Northern Region lifeguards this summer.

SLSNR Operations Manager Alan Gibson says it was fortunate no one had been injured by jetski operators at the beaches "but if the behaviour continues it's only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs." He says guards had been working hard to educate and inform the public about both issues.

Gibson says the water quality issue was significant with the heavy recent rain but also heightened because the number of locations monitored had increased significantly to 254 spots. "There are more locations and we're getting more events; it adds to the complexity of our role."

Gibson says the Christmas-New Year period was very busy at times but quieter on other days because of weather conditions and he's anticipating a lot more people at the beach in weeks to come. "The weather is forecast to be better over the next few weeks, and if it's fine people are definitely going to head to the beach."

Gibson says beachgoers need to be careful as they exit the surf when the waves are large. "We're finding a lot of people getting caught out like that." He also urged people not to take risks along the coastline. "When the surf is strong it's very unforgiving; a simple error can lead to a serious incident."

Lifeguards will continue to be on patrol at the Northern Region beaches for the next 16 weeks.


Monday 4 January - summary

4 January was a stunning day with beautiful conditions on both coasts. Both Muriwai and Raglan had more than 1000 people at the beach, and a number of other beaches including Ruakaka and Omaha had close to that figure.

There was one major incident at Muriwai where a missing diver was pulled in by a surfer at Maori Bay. Lifeguards promptly responded in an IRB and located and treated the patient. Orewa and Long Bay had poor water quality issues so spent a significant amount of time warning the public about issues.

There were also reports of multiple water craft driving dangerously fast and close to the shore at Orewa and Omaha beaches.

4 January - statistics

No. of people rescued4
No. of people assisted4
No. of major first aids4
No. of minor first aids14
No. of searches2
No. of preventatives1155
No. of number involved5250
No. of peak head count9580
No. of hours worked644

Sunday 3 January - summary

January 3 was an extremely quiet day for our lifeguards on the beaches with no major incidents. Whangārei Heads had the most notable incident with one assist after a swimmer outside of the flags was assisted back to the shore without the use of a rescue tube. A total of seven minor first-aids were performed by lifeguards at Far North, Whangārei Heads, Omaha, Red Beach, Bethells and Piha.

At the end of the day after patrols had all closed, SurfCom was informed of a missing person at sea at Uretiti beach near Waipu. The person patient was quickly located but was not making any progress and appeared to be in distress and requiring assistance to get back to shore. Ruakaka and Waipu Cove Emergency Callout Squads quickly responded but the patient managed to return to shore before guards were required to intervene.

3 January - statistics

No. of people rescued0
No. of people assisted1
No. of major first aids0
No. of minor first aids7
No. of searches0
No. of preventatives298
No. of number involved1097
No. of peak head count3887
No. of hours worked1337.5

Saturday 2 January - summary

A relatively quiet day, with rainy weather around most of the region. The peak head count was 450 at Piha. Kariaotahi had one search today; however, the missing person was quickly found thanks to the great work from the lifeguards and no further assistance was required. Piha also performed one search today and Muriwai rescued three swimmers.

Ruakaka and Whangārei Heads ECOS responded to an incident off Busby Head just after 6pm, with a water craft found unmanned with personal belongings on board, but were shortly stood down following the owner of the craft being found.

United and Piha closed their flags approx. 15 minutes early due to shark sightings and all swimmers were notified before the patrols ended.

Far North, Bethells and Muriwai had one minor first aid each.

2 January - statistics

No. of people rescued3
No. of people assisted0
No. of major first aids0
No. of minor first aids3
No. of searches2
No. of preventatives250
No. of number involved1876
No. of peak head count4504
No. of hours worked1410
No. of closing time0

New Year's holiday weekend - statistics

1/1/2021 to 4/1/2021 
No. of people rescued23
No. of people assisted47
No. of major first aids16
No. of minor first aids124
No. of searches17
No. of preventatives5826
No. of number involved25633
No. of peak head count62992
No. of hours worked7823.5


25/12/2020 to 4/1/2021 
No. of people rescued26
No. of people assisted69
No. of major first aids23
No. of minor first aids183
No. of searches20
No. of preventatives8,716
No. of number involved37,265
No. of peak head count100,038
No. of hours worked14,126.55

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