Lifeguards across Northland finish up their patrols this Easter Weekend after six months of protecting beachgoers at some of the region's surf beaches.
Surf lifesavers at Waipū Cove, Ruakākā, Whangārei Heads and Mangawhai will take down the flags and pack away their rescue gear for the last time this weekend as the final 2018-19 season patrols are carried out.
Surf Life Saving Northern Region operations manager Alan Gibson said beach attendances have progressively decreased since the summer peaks, "but the beach risks don't change".
"Whether there are 10 on the beach or 1000 – we still have to be alert and ready to effect a rescue."
Gibson says patrols will operate over Easter at 15 beaches: Whangārei Heads, Ruakākā, Waipū Cove, Mangawhai Heads, Omaha, Orewa, Mairangi Bay, Muriwai, Bethells Beach, North Piha, South Piha, Karekare, Kariaotahi, Sunset Beach and Raglan.
"The patrols will generally operate from 11am till 5pm, but we'll have extended hours at some of the clubs."
At Waipū Cove, club president Rick Stolwerk said it had been a "great season" for the club, the oldest of the Northern Region's 17 clubs. The lifeguards begin patrolling on weekends again from Labour Weekend.
Gibson said although volunteer patrols will cease after Easter, SLSNR maintains an on-call team year-round should an incident arise.
"On-water activity doesn't cease just because the sea is cooler and the weather may be bad; there is still a lot of activity on the coasts with the risk of a tragedy occurring. Our job never really stops."
That includes looking ahead to next season's needs, he said.
"Our services rely strongly on volunteers so we are currently recruiting for our volunteer ranks for next summer."
Anyone who would like to join should go to firstname.lastname@example.org.