Topic: Water Safety

"Respect Tangaroa" says veteran lifeguard

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

Ngāti Porou Surf Lifesaving Club founder Peter Boyd is encouraging beachgoers to take the ocean seriously after saving four people from a rip.

A veteran waterman, he has advice about what to do when you find yourself caught in a rip.

“First of all just relax, so once you're in there if you're in the rip remember to raise your hand so you draw attention to yourself and then the other part of the message is to ride it out,” says Peter Boyd.

With over thirty years' experience as a lifeguard, Peter Boyd has a wealth of water knowledge.

“A classic sign of somebody who's in trouble, you'll see they try and come back to land, and they're generally what we call climbing the ladder, or just not making any headway.”

Boyd explains why it’s not wise to go against the tide.

“What happens with a rip is that it'll feed back out to sea and it'll just open up and out the back it's generally calmer and you're outside the wave breaks and stuff like that.”

While he was off-duty enjoying the surf in the weekend, the Ngāti Porou Surf Lifesaving club member saved four people from a rip.

“Beach was packed, high tide, swell was slightly higher, the other thing is to people are trying to get out where you've got experienced surfers, so they got into the rip and then they went past us and we knew they were in trouble so really we just responded by grabbing them and taking them back to shore.”

Boyd says that when in doubt, don’t go out.

“If there are no patrols you know you've got to ask local people or surfers and things like that, never swim alone, always tell people where you're going to before you go in the sea.”

“Swim between the flags, that's where your safest spot is and we've set flags up there because that's the safest area to swim.”

Ngāti Porou Surf Life Saving Club start their 2019 patrol on the 6th Jan at Onepoto in Wharekahika.