Stay­ing safe in the wa­ter this sum­mer

Waihi Leader - - News -

Na­tional Life­sav­ing man­ager Alan Mundy shares his tips about how to be safe in the wa­ter and why life­guards are so im­por­tant.

How im­por­tant are life­guards and why?

They are quite lit­er­ally life savers. Life­guards are vi­tal in keep­ing New Zealan­ders safe at the beach and without them, thou­sands of New Zealan­ders wouldn’t have made it home.

Last year alone we res­cued over 1,000 peo­ple from lifethreat­en­ing sit­u­a­tions — imag­ine how dif­fer­ent sum­mer would be without life­guards keep­ing those peo­ple safe and get­ting them back to their loved ones.

What are some of the re­ward­ing as­pects of be­ing a life­guard?

See­ing peo­ple and kids en­joy the thing we all love — the beach. It re­ally is New Zealand’s best play­ground and we love be­ing able to make it safe for peo­ple so they can ex­pe­ri­ence it.

Plus, of course, sav­ing lives. It’s a pretty good feel­ing when you per­form a res­cue and know they’re go­ing home to their loved ones.

We seem to have a strong pres­ence of life­guards in Whanga­mata¯ and Waihi/Beach. Why do you think that is?

Be­cause of the won­der­ful beaches and rel­a­tively close prox­im­ity to the three ma­jor pop­u­la­tion basses of Tau­ranga, Hamil­ton and Auck­land — all of which have many life­guards who travel to the area to pa­trol. It is a pretty great place to en­joy sum­mer in!

What are things to watch out for at th­ese beaches?

There are a few things but the main thing to look for are rip cur­rents as they can carry you away from shore. There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of rip cur­rents but they do have com­mon fea­tures which you should look out for be­fore head­ing into the wa­ter.

Look for th­ese fea­tures to help you iden­tify a rip — but re­mem­ber, not ev­ery rip has all of th­ese fea­tures — they may only have one or two:

Re­gions of deeper, darker wa­ter with less wave break­ing ac­tiv­ity be­tween ar­eas of white wa­ter; think of them as rivers of the sea

Nar­row ar­eas of sur­face wa­ter that is rip­pled or bumpy with criss-crossed waves com­pared to ar­eas ei­ther side of this sec­tion of wa­ter

Tur­bu­lent white wa­ter with de­posits of sand sus­pended in the wa­ter head­ing off­shore.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

Life­guards will be out in force this sum­mer.

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