A rock fisher has drowned this morning after being washed off rocks at Auckland’s Bethells Beach – the man, approximately in his 50’s was not wearing a lifejacket.
Surf Life Saving reminds people to take basic safety precautions over the holiday period as many Kiwi’s head away this Easter.
“We’re still seeing consistencies in drowning incidents where people are wearing inappropriate clothing and are unaware of hazardous surf conditions and rips.” said Grant Florence, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Chief Executive.
“People should check out weather and tide conditions before heading to their destinations. Many of the rescues our Lifeguards perform could be prevented if people were adequately prepared for the conditions. We’re constantly working towards reducing the drowning toll and ask people to take responsibility for their own safety when around water - whether it’s a river mouth, tidal estuary or a beach.” says Florence.
Easter weekend marks the official end of Surf Life Saving season with Lifeguards rescuing over 1,430 people and providing more than 193,000 volunteer hours so far this summer. Surf Lifeguards patrol over 80 beaches - but people need to remember that patrols don’t make the beaches safe – they make them safer.
Surf Life Saving reminds people of the following safety tips:
Be safe around rocks:
Whether fishing or exploring at the beach, rocky outcrops can be very dangerous in large surf. Always wear a life jacket. Don’t think the water will wash around you as moving water is always powerful. Never stand on a rock outcrop that is wet – a sure sign waves will be washing over it. Always face the sea, never turn your back to it, and always have a clear escape path to safe ground
Beware of the changing conditions at the beach:
Conditions at the beach can change so it pays to stay aware of changes. An example is that rips can often form around the time that tides change.
Learn to recognise rip currents
Rip currents at the beach are dangerous. A rip is a body of water moving out to sea.
To escape from a rip current:
· Raise your hand to alert Surf Lifeguards
· Don’t panic
· Swim parallel to the beach to the nearest breaking waves
· Don’t swim against the current
You can identify a rip by:
· Calm patches on surf with waves breaking either side
· Rippled or criss-cross water
· Discoloured water because sand is stirred up
· Foamy water with debris
· Rips are hard to spot on a windy day
Listen to the advice from Surf Lifeguards
The Surf Lifeguards know all about the beach and the sea and have local environmental knowledge. Listen to what they have to say so you can have fun and keep safe.
Always be aware around moving water:
Moving water is always a risk whether it’s at a surf beach or not. Water is pushed into the beach by waves and has to find a way back; the drag can catch people unaware even in relatively shallow water.