Lifeguards stay on for a little while longer

The red and yellow flags will be flying until the end of the week at Fitzroy, East End and Oakura beaches, although only for three hours a day.

With the support of the New Plymouth District Council, Surf Life Saving New Zealand was able to extend the weekday service by an extra week.

Club development officer Andy Cronin said they were grateful for the extension.

"As with everyone, we are at the whim of the funders so although we would like to be able to extend the service more, the fact we could do the extra week was a bonus."

Week day patrols from 4pm till 6.45pm continue until February 1 to provide extra coverage for those taking advantage of the summer conditions after work and school.

Mr Cronin said the end of the summer holidays did not mean less people in the water.

"People get out of school and the first thing they want to do is get out to the beach for a swim."

He was encouraged by the efforts of the public to make use of the patrolled areas.

But the extended service did not change the fact that people needed to take care when swimming outside patrol hours, he said.

Five men caught in a rip at Fitzroy Beach on Tuesday evening were fortunate to be spotted by off-duty lifeguard Adam Fraser who swam out and assisted them out of the danger area.

"The beach is only patrolled when the red and yellow patrol flags are flying," Mr Cronin said.

Volunteer patrols remain in place on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at Opunake, Oakura, East End and Fitzroy beaches until Taranaki Anniversary weekend.

Taranaki Daily News