According to Allan Mundy, Surf Life Saving New Zealand National Life Saving and Education Manager, it has been estimated that most drownings are in fact preventable.
“A large number of beachgoers put themselves into unnecessary danger last summer, and a large number of rescues took place outside of the traditional flagged patrol area and outside of standard patrol hours.” Mr Mundy says that there are a number of overarching factors that can lead to swimmers getting into trouble.
They include ignorance or underestimation of their own ability, misunderstanding or disregard of hazards such as rips, the inability to cope when exposed to these hazards and lack of surveillance or failure to keep an eye on one another.
“Each beach is dangerous in its own right due to environmental factors. Even waist deep water can be life threatening if you step in a hole or get hit by a large wave.”
Those choosing a beach destination for their Christmas holidays should take water safety into consideration and visit www.findabeach.co.nz to find the nearest patrolled beach to their home or holiday location.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand encourages beach goers to adhere to a few simple rules. Be prepared, watch out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits.
Visit www.surflifesaving.org.nz to find out more.
Karioitahi and Sunset Beach Patrol dates
Karioitahi and Sunset Beach both started their patrols over Labour Weekend and lifeguards will be patrolling weekends through to March 28.
Karioitahi’s Regional Lifeguard patrols are from December 14, through to February 5, while Sunset’s patrols are December 14, through to January 29.