Mount Maunganui lifeguards can barely contain their excitement over the surf life saving season, which starts this weekend, and the impending finish of their new purpose-built clubrooms.
With the completion of the 11-month build still on the horizon, plus a last-minute delay in opening the basement, the club's voluntary patrols will operate out of containers and portable offices for the first few weeks of the season.
And helping get them over the line have been local business, including Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park, SEA Containers NZ and long-term surf life saving supporters McLeod Cranes.
"Our contractors have done superbly, getting the basement floor near-completion, but we had a hitch with the external works to upgrade the pump station in front of the new club," MMLS chairman Paul Manning explained.
"It just means we've kicked off our contingency plans and, thanks to the local businesses and our staff and lifeguard committee, we'll be fully operational and hitting the ground running on Saturday. As far as the public are concerned, it will be business as usual."
McLeod Cranes were on site early this morning, lifting the temporary facilities into place; the two portacoms will operate as a lifeguard base and first aid room, while the containers will be used to store IRBs and other vital life saving equipment.
SEA Containers have also donated the use of six other containers, some of which are housed in the Beachside Holiday Park grounds, for storage of training and support equipment until the new building is finished.
Lifeguards are expecting a busy beach over the holiday weekend, although that may not extend too far into the briny.
"The dreaded spring westerlies have hit and it means the water is probably more suited to a bracing dip than a leisurely bathe," opening weekend patrol captain Julia Conway said.
"It also means we shouldn't have much of a swell this weekend, although those winds can still cause tricky currents and can snatch anything inflatable out to sea pretty quickly.
Our core safety messages still remain - swim between the flags, keep an eye on younger swimmers and feel free to pick the brains of your nearest lifeguard - we're there to help."
The club is still fundraising for the completion of the building project and is reaching out to the community for support – donations can be made at www.mountlifeguards.co.nz/donate