More beach rescues made

While ''horrible'' summer weather has kept many from going to Otago beaches this summer, it has not lowered the number of people needing to be rescued by surf lifesaving crews.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Otago and Southland club development officer Steph Laughton said, anecdotally, head-counts done by lifesaving crews on Otago's beaches were down ''slightly'' compared to previous years, but not as much as expected.

''The weekdays have been horrible, but then usually in the weekends, it's been nice and that's when our volunteer guards are on patrol.

''It's been a rather wet summer and we are very grateful when the sun comes out.''

Despite the decline in beach attendance, the number of people rescued had increased, she said.

Over the past three years, rescue numbers had increased steadily from 10 in 2011-12 to 17 in 2012-13 and already this season had reached 19.

Miss Laughton said the increase was concerning and she reminded beach-goers to remain vigilant while swimming on Otago's coastline.

She advised them to listen to the advice of lifeguards; keep an eye on children in the water; never swim or surf alone; stay between the flags; watch out for rips; and use beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards.


Otago Surf Lifesaving rescues
2009-10: 8
2010-11: 31
2011-12: 10
2012-13: 17
2013-14: 19


- john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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