Surf club ready for beach patrol

The risk of shark attacks at Warrington Beach has disappeared, just in time for the start of the rescue patrol season this weekend.

Otago Southland Surf Rescue Committee chairman Cam Burrow said swimmers and surfers had been avoiding the beach for months, after a juvenile humpback whale washed up nearby earlier this year.

Waves carried the carcass along the coast to Purakaunui in September, where it was buried in the sand dunes.

“Because it was buried, it eliminated that danger of the whale washing into the ocean and attracting increased marine activity like sharks and other wildlife.

“The locals were very concerned about the sharks, but now that the whale is gone Warrington beach is going to be perfect for swimming.”

The beach would be a great place to surf and swim safely this summer, Mr Burrow said.

“There will be over 250 volunteers carrying out rescue patrols in St Clair, St Kilda, Brighton and Warrington between noon and 4pm each day from this Saturday until the end of March next year.”

Last season, 17 saves, six assists, six major first aid, eight searches and 1,689 preventative actions were carried out on beaches, many of which were preventable, he said.

“Many of our rescues take place outside of patrol hours. We have a volunteer call team that is available 24/7, to respond to people who have problems outside of patrol hours or on unsupervised beaches.

“Our message is to always swim at patrolled beaches while the patrols are there and stay between the flags.

“We’ll let you know where the dangers are.”

The other key message was that if anyone gets in trouble on a beach outside patrol hours, just call 111, he said.

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