Busy sum­mer for life­guards

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

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.

PHOTO: SURF LIFE SAV­ING NZ

The 2016/17 Ti­tahi Bay Beach life­guards, who will be help­ing at Fox­ton as well.

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