Whangamatā Surf Life Saving Club has won third place in the regional Surf Lifesaving rescues of the month for their rescue of two people in a double kayak that capsized on December 8.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand invites clubs to submit their rescues to be judged for the title of BP Rescue of the Month, which recognises operational excellence by Surf Lifeguards around the country.
Whangamatā Surf Life Saving Club will receive $300 for their award.
Surf Lifeguards involved in the search for, and recovery of, the body of a crab fisherman who died at Uretiti Beach in Bream Bay on Christmas Day 2019 won the monthly award from Surf Life Saving New Zealand and BP.
Surf Lifeguards from both Ruakaka and Waipu Cove Surf Life Saving Clubs were involved in the emergency call out and won first place for December.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region Duty Officer Dan Short says The Northland Rescue Helicopter had started a final search along the shoreline when the crew spotted the crab-fisherman in the surf zone not far from the crab-pots.
As lifeguards were directed to him, the helicopter lost sight of him with a large set distorting the water visibility.
At 11.53am the helicopter once again saw the crab-fisherman and in a quick response between waves the Waipu IRB, with assistance from a Surf Lifeguard in the water, pulled the man's body into the boat and returned him to shore.
Mr Short says although the outcome was tragic, overall it was a very professional and planned response from all Surf Lifeguards involved.
"The Surf Lifeguards that responded all worked together as one large team despite their different roles on the day. They represented Surf Life Saving NZ at a very high level in this critical multi-agency incident.
"Because of these lifeguards, the deceased patient was able to be returned to his family on Christmas Day and because of the efforts from the lifeguards who stayed to maintain patrol, two lives were also saved."
The Surf Lifeguards involved will be recognised with $250 worth of BP gift vouchers for each of the clubs. (A total prize of $500.)
Second place went to United North Piha Lifeguard Service for the rescue of a fisherman swept off the rocks at Fisherman's Rock on December 8, 2019.