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Morning Mount rescue serving as beach warning

Rabbit Island as seen from Mount Main Beach.

A Papamoa man is wanting to share his rescue story with the aim of warning people about the potential dangers when swimming in the ocean.

Brent Phillips was down on the beach near Rabbit Island in Mount Maunganui at about 10.30am today, when he jumped into the water for a swim.

About 50m away from him, he noticed a couple of people calling out and splashing around.

Brent swam over and saw a man and woman were struggling and needed help.

“The woman yelled and said the man couldn’t swim. She wasn’t strong enough to keep him up.

“Slowly, I swam and dragged him back to the shore to where he could stand on the sand.

“She swam in behind us.”

Brent, who is a professional engineer by trade, says it was a scary situation.

“I have lifesaving experience from the West Coast. It was scary to do it by myself and without any equipment, like a rescue tube or something, but I just needed to help.”

The 43-year-old is hoping sharing the events of this morning will serve as a warning to anyone entering the waters around the region.

While it may look beautiful out there, things could change in an instant.

He says it is a good idea for people to speak to local lifeguards and get advice on the safest places to swim and what the conditions are like before they head out.

“If I wasn’t there, wasn’t in the water and was up on the beach with my family, it could have been a drowning.

“When I got to them, he appeared to be in bad shape and I am not sure she could have supported him for much longer.”

Brent says where it all happened, local lifeguards were probably not in a position to see the couple.

“When we got back to the beach, I advised him to see a doctor if he started to feel unwell. When you take on salt water like that, you can feel unwell hours later.”

Eastern Region manager at Surf Lifesaver New Zealand, Avan Polo says the best way to stay safe this summer is to go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags, as this area is always monitored by lifeguards.

He also makes it clear that beachgoers should not feel like they are overreacting by reporting anything untoward to lifeguards, no matter how big or small.

Avan has detailed the following beach safety messages for Bay of Plenty residents looking to cool off at the beach this summer.

-Choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the flags

-Read and understand the safety signs – ask a surf lifeguard for advice as conditions can change regularly

-Don’t overestimate your ability or your children’s ability to cope in the conditions

-Always keep a close eye on very young children in or near the water – always keep them within arm’s reach

-Get a friend to swim with you – never swim or surf alone

-Watch out for rip currents, they can carry you away from shore. If caught in a rip current remember the 3Rs: *Relax and float, *Raise your hand and *Ride the rip

-Be smart around rocks: When fishing never turn your back towards the sea and always wear a lifejacket

-If in doubt, stay out!

-If you see someone in trouble, call 111 and ask for the Police

-Be sun smart – slip, slop, slap and wrap to protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s damaging rays.

Click here for more beach safety information.

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