Life­guards help cover short­age


The surf life sav­ing club at Fox­ton Beach will again be look­ing for help this sea­son, af­ter life­guards from Ti­tahi Bay and other re­gional clubs helped keep swim­mers safe at Fox­ton last year.

The Fox­ton club has strug­gled with low mem­ber­ship and a short­age of life­guards. It has about 10 life­guards, just one-third of the num­ber it needs.

With a beach that at­tracts up to 600 vis­i­tors a day in sum­mer, it has been seek­ing help from other clubs in Porirua, Welling­ton and Horowhenua.

The sum­mer pa­trol starts on the first week­end of De­cem­ber and runs through to March - with week­day pa­trols dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

In the 2016/17 sea­son, clubs that helped in­cluded Lyall Bay, Ti­tahi Bay, Waitarere and Hi­matangi, who pa­trolled Fox­ton Beach once ev­ery three weeks. It will be the same pat­tern for the 2017/18 sea­son.

Waitarere Beach life­guard Nathan Berry said it pro­vided a devel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity for other clubs.

‘‘A lot of the ur­ban clubs in Welling­ton don’t get rough swells, [so] they get to work on skills they wouldn’t get to de­velop at their home clubs.’’

Nav­i­gat­ing surf and work­ing in rougher wa­ter were skills life­guards could put to the test at Fox­ton Beach, Berry said.

For Waitarere club mem­bers, who were fa­mil­iar with rough swells, work­ing at a new club could teach them how to work with dif­fer­ent peo­ple, he said.

Fox­ton Surf Life Sav­ing Club chair­man Shaun Sayer said ideally, the club needed about 30 life­guards, so about 10 could be on duty each week­end.

With the help of other clubs, there were more than 1240 recorded hours of vol­un­teer work at Fox­ton Beach last sum­mer. This was 470 more hours than the 2015/16 sea­son.

Four mem­bers of the pub­lic were res­cued, 22 were treated for mi­nor in­juries and one for ma­jor in­juries.

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