A large rip is visible as a long stretch of flat water near
an old pier at St Clair Beach, Dunedin, yesterday. Photo by
Lifeguards are urging swimmers to enjoy themselves
between the flags at St Clair Beach, in Dunedin, this summer,
but not become complacent about nearby rips. Steph Botting,
head lifeguard at St Clair, said the flags were positioned to
keep swimmers away from strong rips.
But even when people were swimming or body boarding between
the flags, they should keep a close eye on their position so
they were not drawn out of the flagged area into rips at the
north and south of the beach.
There were no rescues at St Clair over the Christmas-New Year
period, but a precautionary check was made on two body
boarders late last week.
Ms Botting had also paddled back to the beach on her
surfboard late last week, guiding a man in an ocean-going
Surf Life Saving New Zealand Otago regional lifeguard
supervisor Gavin Murdoch said no rescues had been recently
required at nearby St Kilda Beach, or at any of the three
other patrolled Otago beaches, from Kaka Point and Brighton,
in the south, to Warrington, in the north, where paid
lifeguards are on duty on weekdays during summer. Swimming
between the flags and maintaining a healthy respect for rips
were two key safety messages this summer, he said.
And the position and nature of some rips could change
quickly, even in a few hours.
''One big swell or a big rain can come through and change it
At all the beaches, including Brighton, where he is based,
beach-goers had been well-behaved and co-operative.
Perhaps the unluckiest swimmer near Dunedin recently was an
off-duty lifeguard who received a bloody nose at Brighton
last Thursday after being struck by an untethered surf board.
This had washed into the flagged area, where the lifeguard
was hit while trying to protect other swimmers.
The busiest day of the summer holidays had been Christmas
Day, but beaches are expected to prove popular tomorrow, when
temperatures are forecast to reach the high 20s.