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Surf Life Saving urges people to take care

Lifeguards are no longer patrolling New Zealand's beaches. Image: Cody Keepa.

While much of the country will be enjoying warm autumn weather this weekend, Surf Life Saving NZ is asking anyone heading to the beach to take extra care in, on, or around the water.

Chief operations officer Chris Emmett says people might take advantage of the good weather and the extra freedoms that come with COVID-19’s Level 2 restrictions, but need to know that patrols have ended.

The reminder comes after a tragic week at the beach following the death of a teenager at Karekare Beach on Auckland’s west coast on Tuesday.

“Surf Lifeguards aren’t on patrol at our beaches but risks, like rips, are there year round,” Chris says. “The conditions haven’t changed.”

Chris says anyone who is heading into the water needs to take notice of Surf Life Saving NZ’s safety advice.

“Know your limits – don’t overestimate your ability in the water, or that of your child. If in doubt stay out.”

He says before getting in the water people need to know the three Rs of Rip Safety.

“If you get caught in a rip remember to relax and float, raise your hand to signal for help and ride the rip until it stops so you can swim safely back to shore.”

And if you see someone in trouble in the water, call 111 immediately and ask for the Police – they have a direct line to Surf Life Saving NZ’s Emergency Call Out Squads.

There are 40 squads across the country who operate year-round, however it does take the volunteers time to respond to emergencies.

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