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Surf lifeguards at the ready

PETRICE TARRANT
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2013

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Dargaville & Districts

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There is a reason they are now called surf lifeguards, not surf lifesavers - the aim is to prevent accidents happening.

Ripiro Beach swimmers have been well looked after over the Christmas and New Year period thanks to a team of dedicated surf lifeguards, Baylys Surf Life Saving Club captain Mitchell Powell says.

From Christmas Eve to January 4, guards have been paid to monitor the beach from Monday to Fridays, and during the weekends Baylys Beach's five volunteers have dedicated their time to keeping swimmers safe.

Mr Powell says there were no rescues, despite taking hundreds of preventative actions during the two weeks.

"A good lifeguard shouldn't have to do any rescues," he says.

Preventative actions include moving the flags when a danger spot arises, keeping people informed and moving them back between the flags.

Mr Powell says he has been working every day Monday to Friday as well as joining the small volunteer team at weekends to protect swimmers along the popular west coast beach.

"We've had huge head counts over the Christmas-New Year period and without us, people wouldn't know where to swim," he says.

Ripiro Beach is allocated 11 days of paid guards. That period ended on January 4 and Mr Powell urges people to take responsibility.

"The key is if you're boogie boarding take some fins with you, always have a flotation device and stay well within your depth." If someone is in trouble phone 0800 SAVELIFE immediately.

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