Poor summer weather keeps beach rescues down

Lifeguards made fewer rescues last summer. Photo / RON BURGIN
Lifeguards made fewer rescues last summer. Photo / RON BURGIN

Surf lifesavers carried out nearly 40 per cent fewer rescues over summer compared with the year before, a figure attributed to unpredictable weather.

With Easter marking the end to the patrol season, statistics released today by Surf Life Saving New Zealand showed rescues were down 37 per cent on last season.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand chief executive Paul Dalton said the decrease in numbers could be due to the poor weather last summer.

"Naturally, with less people on the beaches, there is less chance of people getting into trouble."

However, he said the unpredictable summer weather also kept lifeguards busy.

"The inconsistency of the conditions meant things could change very quickly, and that's when our lifeguards would jump into action."

Surf lifesavers patrolled 80 beaches nationwide from Labour Weekend last year, with lifeguards carrying out around 1200 rescues on average.

The largest number of rescues took place at Hot Water Beach in Coromandel, with 101 rescues. Whangamata and Mount Maunganui had 56 and 54 rescues respectively.

Mr Dalton said now that the patrol season was over, it was up to beachgoers to take responsibility for their own safety around the water.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand encouraged those visiting beaches to be aware of danger and know their limits.

Top 10 nationwide rescue statistics, 2013/2014 summer season:

• Hot Water Beach 101

• Whangamata 56

• Mt Maunganui 54

• Piha 53

• Raglan 47

• Muriwai 41

• Sumner 40

• Riversdale 35

• Orewa 34

• Opunake 28


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