Beach patrols set for summer swell

Lifeguards at popular beaches lift their presence

SAM BOYER AND MATT STEWART
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
Senior lifeguard Troy Greenem keeps an eye on swimmers at Oriental Bay
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
UNDER SHELTER: Senior lifeguard Troy Greenem keeps an eye on swimmers at Oriental Bay from the service’s new tower.

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As shirts come off and sunscreen comes out for summer, lifeguards at two of Wellington's most popular beaches have lifted their presence.

A lifeguard tower has been built at Oriental Bay beach this year, for the first time in the man-made beach's short history.

Life Saving New Zealand programmes and services manager Brent Harvey said the tower provided a good vantage point for lifeguards to survey the beach.

"It's the first time we've had one there. It's about having an adequate place for our lifeguards to patrol from . . . so they can escape from the sun and still have a full 180-degree view of the beach."

In previous summers, the guards had to take shelter from sun and rain in their cars or a bus stop, he said.

Volunteers from Maranui lifesaving club man the tower at weekends but, as of this week, paid lifeguards will patrol on weekdays, from 11am to 6.30pm.

A similar arrangement is also operating at Lyall Bay beach.

Though yesterday was a peach, beachgoers may be put off from sunning themselves over the next few days.

Wellington recorded its hottest day of summer so far yesterday, hitting 26C at the airport and 24C at Kelburn with clear skies and light breezes.

The bad news is the sunshine is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Metservice forecaster Philippa Murdoch said clouds, rain and wind were on the way today and through the weekend.

"I'm afraid we're looking at some cloud developing . . . [it'll be] mostly cloudy and some drizzle in the morning and evening [today], and northerly winds are picking up.

"It's may be not looking too flash for the next few days."

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- The Dominion Post

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