Police hit the beaches in bid to save lives

Last updated 05:00 08/01/2014

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A mobile police station will be deployed to East Auckland beaches this summer to help prevent fatalities on the water.

Four of the five people who drowned across the country over the holiday period, which ended on Friday, were fishing or gathering seafood, Water Safety New Zealand says.

Police Inspector Wendy Spiller says it is dangerous to enter the water without proper safety equipment.

"By putting extra resource into highly populated holiday spots at this time of year, we hope we can get the water safety message across clearly," she says. "In 2012 nearly 100 people died in the water, which is far too high."

In the Counties Manukau police district four people died on the water in 2012.

This summer police will deploy a mobile station to beaches in the east, including Eastern Beach, Maraetai and Beachlands.

"While up to 10,000 people converge on the eastern beaches on long weekends and public holidays, we're also concerned for those who are boating and fishing offshore and from rocky coastal areas," Ms Spiller says.

"These can be dangerous places and people should be taking every precaution if they plan to partake in one of these activities."

Ms Spiller says lives can be saved if people are adequately prepared for the water conditions, and wear life jackets. "There's no excuse for going out fishing or boating without enough safety equipment for everyone on board."

Ms Spiller says officers will also enforce a liquor ban at all east beaches, with a $250 on-the-spot fine for those who breach it.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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