Nobody is stronger than a rip – that's what TSB and Surf Life Saving NZ (SLSNZ) are setting out to teach New Zealanders as they take to the beach this summer.

TSB and SLSNZ are today launching a rip current safety education campaign to ensure Kiwis know what to do if they find themselves caught in a rip while swimming.

The message is simple: Remember the three R's: Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip.

"This collaboration with SLSNZ is incredibly important to us, as it's helping keep Kiwis safe in the water," TSB chief executive Donna Cooper said.

"We worked with SLSNZ to find out what the most important safety focus was for them and partnered with them to raise awareness on this crucial summer message."

Rips present a huge risk for beach-goers in New Zealand. In the past 10 years 51 fatalities have been linked to rips and almost 700 non-fatal rip rescues occur each year.


Surf Life Saving New Zealand's 5000 volunteers patrol our beaches for more than 230,000 hours each year and 80 per cent of rescues they carry out involve swimmers caught in rip currents.

"Many people think when they are caught in a rip that they're strong enough to out-swim it, but not even an Olympic swimmer can beat a rip," Paul Dalton, SLSNZ chief executive said.

"Rip currents will quickly carry you away from the shore and it will be frightening, but if you follow the three R's you will be in the best possible position to get to safety."

With summers in New Zealand getting hotter and beaches packed with more people, the creating awareness around rip safety is timely.

"TSB is a New Zealand bank which cares about people, so helping New Zealanders stay rip safe this summer is a cause everyone in our organisation is proud to get behind," Cooper said.

"I'm calling on all New Zealanders to spread 'the three R's' safety education message: relax, raise and ride. Get everyone talking about rip safety, test your whānau's knowledge regularly and make sure you remind anyone of the catchy phrase before they enter the water.

TSB entered into a partnership with Surf Life Saving New Zealand in 2016.