Off-duty lifeguards go above and beyond

By Wright Communications

It is an indication that beach activity is ramping up in Surf Life Saving's Northern Region before the official  season opening over Labour weekend, 22nd October 2016.

Senior lifeguard Zane Rademaker was involved in a pre-season Rescue Water Craft (RWC) training exercise last Sunday afternoon at Te Henga (Bethells) Beach when he noticed a large surging wave sweep up over three beachgoers who were crossing the estuary with their dogs.

One dog was unable to stay above the surge and was clearly in trouble. Zane ran over and checked the dog's vital signs and was unable to detect breathing or a pulse so began to administer chest compressions. The owner supplied rescue breaths and after approximately 3 cycles of compressions and rescue breathing the dog began breathing on his own.

The next day six off-duty lifeguards responded to an emergency callout at Murawai. A member of the public called 111 after observing a distressed surfer and police notified the Muriwai Emergencey callout squad. The team conducted a 40 minute land and sea search and confirmed that the surfer had made it safely to shore on their own accord.

Matt Williams, CEO of SLSNR, says it was a happy ending for the dog and its owner thanks to the the lifeguard being in the right place at the right time. And, while the surfer didn't require assistance, the callout demonstrated that communication channels and response plans for afterhours emergencies are working well ahead of what is expected to be a busy summer.

"Muriwai is known for its strong currents and big surf, but Surf Life Saving Northern Region would like to take this opportunitiy to remind beachgoers to exercise caution at all coastal loactions when lifeguards are not on duty. If you do seem somone in danger please dial 111 and ask for the police."

SLSNR also recommends the following precautions:

  • Choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags
  • Always keep a very close eye on children in or near the water
  • Get a friend to swim with you - never swim or surf alone
  • Watch out for that rip - rips are calm, deep patches of water close to shore that can sometimes have waves breaking to the side. Rippled, discoloured or foamy water with debris can also mean there is a rip present
  • Be smart around rocks: Whether fishing or exploring at the beach, rocky outcrops can be very dangerous in large surf. When fishing, always wear a lifejacket. Never stand on a rock outcrop that is already wet (a sure sign waves will be washing over it) and always face the ocean; never turn your back on the sea
  • Don't overestimate you or your children's ability to cope in the conditions. Preferably be in the water next to them at all times on a surf beach
  • If you're away from home, check with the locals and ask them about the conditions and the safest place to swim
  • If in doubt, stay out!
  • If you spot someone in trouble at an unpatrolled beach, ensure your own safety and ring 111 and ask for the police.


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