Busy summer for lifeguards
Titahi Bay lifeguards are in the midst of a busy summer, and not just on their own beach.
While just-released statistics show there were no drownings between the flags on more than 80 beaches around New Zealand from the official holiday period of December 23 to January 4, Titahi Bay lifesaving co-ordinator Nick Mulcahy said vigilance is the key.
‘‘The beach at Titahi Bay, or anywhere for that matter, should never be taken for granted.
‘‘There are always dangers to be aware of, no beach is really safe, and that’s why we encourage swimming between the flags.
‘‘Conditions can change very quickly and we have to be alert, with surfers, swimmers, kayakers and people fishing from rocks.’’
This summer, many of Titahi Bay’s 70 lifeguards are rallying to help out Foxton Surf Life Saving Club patrol their busy beach.
Foxton has only a small number of voluntary lifeguards and Mulcahy said it is important they, and the nearby Levin-Waitarere and Palmerston North clubs, are not over-burdened.
Since December 10, members from other Capital Coast clubs, such as Maranui and Titahi Bay, have pitched in.
‘‘Surf life saving is all about giving our time and energy to helping our communities be safer at the beach, so when we saw the need to help out somewhere else, we didn’t hesitate to come up with a plan,’’ Mulcahy said.
Preventative actions like alerting the public to rips and currents have been commonplace in Foxton and on their home patch, he said.
Titahi Bay’s lifeguards have a healthy mix in ages and most are local to the area, coming up through the junior lifesaving programme.
‘‘Our numbers are really healthy as far as lifeguarding goes - ranging from ages 14 to 50.
‘‘They have to know what they’re doing and be able to inter- act with people, because our strength has always been in prevention.’’
The beach at Titahi Bay is patrolled in the weekend by surf club lifesavers, from 12.30pm till 6pm, and during the week by regional lifeguards.
The patrol period runs through until late March.
Figures released from Water Safety New Zealand last week had the preventable drowning toll for the holiday period at eight, with two of them classified as beach drownings.
The 2016/17 Titahi Bay Beach lifeguards, who will be helping at Foxton as well.