Beach gutter along Mount Main Beach prompts safety warnings

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The beach gutter between Grove Ave and Tay St. Photo/Ruth Keber
The beach gutter between Grove Ave and Tay St. Photo/Ruth Keber

A beach gutter has popped up along Mount Main Beach between Banks Ave and Tay St sparking safety messages from local surf clubs.

Beach gutters are naturally occurring troughs that form between the beach and a sand bank. They can create dangerous currents and rips.

The Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service posted two photos of the beach gutter on November 22.

The post read: "Our beach is ever-changing and not all changes are helpful to swimming.

"It's great for playing in at low tide but as the tide fills in, this gutter can create nasty currents and rips.

"Parents and whanau, it's definitely worth being aware of this and keeping an eye on your kids the whole time, it may even be safer to head down to Main Beach and swim between the flags.

"If in doubt, stay out - or better yet, ask a lifeguard!"

Papamoa Surf Life Saving club captain Shaun Smith said there were gutters and holes right down the beach from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa.

Mr Smith said people who lived locally understood that rips and currents were rife in the area but tourists had to be aware.

Gutters and holes came and went with weather patterns, tides and swells, Mr Smith said.

"One day there could be a 23m drop in the sand dunes, the next it could be gone. The beach is always changing.

"People always need to be aware of the water and if they are not sure, don't go in."

Hibiscus Surf School owner operator Rebecca Manning said she agreed with the lifeguard services.

The gutters could create rips and currents which swimmers needed to be aware of, she said.

Be safe this summer.

1: Be prepared: Learn to swim and survive and set rules for safe play in the water.

2: Watch out for yourself and others: Always pay close attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Swim with others and in areas where surf lifeguards are patrolling and make sure you swim between the flags. Listen to advice from the surf lifeguards.

3: Be aware of the dangers: If you are at a beach without patrol flags flying and you are unsure if it's safe, don't risk it, stay out of the water. Always enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags.

4: Know your limits: Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience, and never swim or surf alone.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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