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.