Now that summer is well and truly here we’re all out enjoying our beautiful country and our amazing beaches, lakes and rivers. Whether you’re swimming at Port Waikato, Awhitu or Sunset Beach or fishing at Kaiaua it’s a good time to remind ourselves that we need to keep ourselves, our kids and our loved ones safe in and around the water.
The first thing we need to do before heading out is to be prepared. Learn to swim and survive, set rules for safe play in the water, always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.
It’s important to always pay close attention to children you are supervising when in or near water and swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present. Remember to enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags and never enter the water after drinking alcohol.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand patrol over 80 of our busiest beaches each summer. Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, as they identify the safest area to swim when an active lifesaving patrol is on the beach.
Inflatable 'toy' dinghies and other flotation devices are popular Christmas presents. Police urge parents and caregivers to closely supervise children when using this play equipment as these dinghies, rafts or boards are very light and can easily flip or be swept out in the surf.
Our message to all water sports enthusiasts this summer is to think safety before you put your boat or toes in the water. Be prepared and keep an eye on the weather and water conditions. If it's not looking good or you're not feeling right then put the gear away and have a break.
Tips for keeping safe on the water
• Check the boat, engine and equipment before leaving.
• Check the weather forecast and tides before leaving.
• Tell someone where you're going and when you'll return.
• Avoid alcohol when boating.
• Never overload the boat.
• Take a proper lifejacket for each person on board and wear them.
• Have on board: anchor, bailer, spare fuel, torch, warm clothing or blankets.
• Guard against fire.
• Know the collision prevention rule, navigation safety rule and local bylaws.
• Take two means of communication that work even when wet, such as VHJF radio, flares, 406 EPIRB, cell phone in a plastic bag.
We all hope you have a great time out and about and keep safe this summer