DONATE_banner

By RNZ

This summer NZME is helping Surf Life Saving New Zealand to help save lives. The charity relies on the goodwill of thousands of volunteers, fundraising, grants and sponsorship to keep our beaches patrolled. Here's your chance to help raise money for new equipment and lifeguard training.

Elderly people, children, and small dogs are most as risk of being knocked over at the beach on Monday as a cyclone threatens to drive huge waves ashore on Monday, Surf Life Saving warns.

The tropical cyclone is between Fiji and Tonga and could track east of the New Zealand coastline.

Advertisement

National lifesaving manager Allan Mundy said conditions were expected to get "considerably more dangerous" from Monday, and with school holidays still on, more people were expected to be heading to the beach.

Walkers, especially young children, elderly people or those with small dogs, should stick to dry sand, as surges can go right up the beach, Mundy said.

"Some of these surges can go well up past the high-tide mark and will knock people over. They can be quite powerful.

"If it's wet, it'll tell you there's been a wave there before."

Beachgoers should swim at patrolled beaches and if they see a surging wave, should head for shallow water and wait it out.

"When a large surging wave comes into shore, your swimming depth will be lost as the surge carries you out at least an extra metre - that's half the height of an adult."

Those with children on boogie boards, should grab hold of them and make sure they don't get sucked out, he said.

Anyone in difficulty should remember the 3Rs rip survival plan: relax and float, raise your hand, and ride the rip until it stops.

Advertisement

Mundy said many rips eventually circulate back to shore, so able swimmers could swim in once they get closer to shore.

People should not swim alone and should stay within their depth, he said.

Volunteer patrols with flagged areas continue at most beaches around the northeast this weekend. During the week some beaches will be patrolled by seasonal surf lifeguards.