Auckland Surf Lifeguards Wrap Up Weekday Patrols And Reflect On Busy Season
Weekday patrols are wrapping up on Friday at two of Auckland’s busiest and most dangerous beaches.
Surf lifeguards at Muriwai and Piha are the final locations to finish weekday patrols, which started in the first week of December. Weekend patrols will continue at Auckland beaches until Easter and a full list of these patrolled locations can be found at www.safeswim.org.nz.
Lifeguards working weekdays at Muriwai have saved eight lives, assisted nine people back to shore, completed six searches, given emergency first aid to 13 people and minor first aid to 57.
Muriwai weekday patrol captain Harry Mellor says they also performed more than 3,140 preventative actions stopping nearly 15,000 people getting into trouble.
“People not knowing their depths and underestimating the conditions was a common thread with most of those we rescued this summer,” says Mellor.
“The big waves and strong currents at Muriwai are pretty unpredictable so we’d recommend staying out of the water if you’re in doubt about your abilities or the conditions.”
Lifeguards at North and South Piha have also had a busy season, with weekday lifeguards saving eight lives, assisting another six people to shore, conducting three searches, giving six people emergency first aid and 45 minor first aid. They also performed 3,300 preventative actions stopping nearly 11,000 people getting into trouble.
Piha weekday patrol captain Zachary Swift says there are a number of geological features that are making the beaches hazardous to swimmers and surfers at the moment.
“At South Piha there is a hole in the middle of the beach and also a constant rip current at the Lion Rock end which have been particularly problematic this season” says Swift.
“The conditions are always changing so I think people need to keep in mind that the next time they come to the beach, the conditions may be very different from what they’ve experienced before.”
He says that there aren’t many safe places to swim on Auckland’s west coast so if people are wanting to go out they should look for an area with white water and even wave sets.
“Don’t swim where there is calm patches or blue water at a surf beach as this is most likely a rip current or a hole.”
“If you do get into trouble float on your back and raise your hand, if you see someone else in distress call 111 immediately and ask Police for the surf lifeguards.”
So far this summer lifeguards in Northern Region, which stretches from Ahipara to Raglan on the West Coast and Whangārei Heads to Auckland on the East Coast, have saved 138 lives during patrol hours. They’ve also assisted 240 to shore, conducted 85 searches, given emergency first aid to 96 people and minor first aid to 570. Additionally lifeguards have performed 24,569 preventative actions stopping 105,785 people from getting into trouble.
In addition, SLSNR’s 17 Emergency Callout Squads have been requested 85 times so far this season for after-hours incidents. The work of these volunteers has resulted in 39 lives being saved, seven searches, emergency first aid provided to 14 people and six bodies being recovered.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region CEO Matt Williams says the patrolling season’s results to date celebrate the best of Surf Life Saving Northern Region and its lifeguards.
“Our impact and reach continues to grow through partnerships with other emergency agencies like St John and Police,” says Williams.
“While we have seen a big increase in after-hours Search and Rescue events, the preventative work being done on our beaches during patrol hours is clearly making a difference with fewer on-beach drownings and critical incidents than in previous years.”
“This is a trend in the right direction and one hard fought for following spikes in these instances in previous years.”