Understanding the ocean is very important – the more you know about how waves, wind and tides affect conditions in the water, the better able you are to keep yourself safe, or others, from danger.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand patrol at over 80 of our busiest beaches each Sumer. The red and yellow patrol flags identify the safest area to swim when an active lifesaving patrol is on the beach.
The patrol constantly monitors the area between the patrol flags. However it is the responsibility of the swimmer to stay within their capabilities.
Never swim alone;
Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
Never run and dive into the water;
Never swim at night;
Never let young children swim unsupervised.
Remember – if you choose to swim outside the red and yellow patrol flags or at an unpatrolled beach you do so at your own risk!
A rip is a strong current of water running out to sea. Rips are formed by water in the form of waves washing up onto the beach, this water needs to find its way back out to sea. On many beaches the force of water forms a channel or pathway beyond the break called a rip.
Rip currents are often not readily or easily identifiable to the average beachgoer. For your safety, it’s important to be aware of this major surf zone hazard.
Look for any of the following clues, which may indicate the presence of rip currents:
darker colour, indicating deeper water;
murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom;
smoother surface with much smaller waves, alongside white water (broken waves);
debris floating out to sea;
a rippled look, when the water around is generally calm.
If you get caught in a rip, do not panic!Paddle and swim parallel to the shore toward the breaking waves, which should help you get back to the beach;
Do not attempt to swim against the rip, as even the strongest swimmers will quickly become tired;
If you do tire or become frightened, stay calm, raise your arm, call for help and wait for assistance.