First Rescues on Opening Weekend
By Max Jones, Whangamata Coastal News, Whangamata 26 Oct 2017
While many spent the long weekend with their feet up relaxing, the lifeguards at Trust Waikato Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club hit the ground running in their opening weekend.
Although the weather kept many people off the beach, strong offshore winds on Saturday resulted in the first rescue of the season. Two tourists in a double kayak capsized while attempting to paddle back to shore from Whenuakura (Donut) island.
This was spotted from the patrol tower and lifeguards responded immediately in the IRB, reaching the upturned kayak which was being blown quickly out to sea in a matter of minutes. The tourists were quickly transported back to the beach and were extremely grateful for the lifeguard’s help.
While assisting the first kayak, a second group of kayakers found themselves in trouble, stranded on the Maukaha rocks. A second IRB was launched to assist the group to get off the rocks and safely back to shore. Without the assistance of the lifeguards, both groups of kayakers would have had extreme difficulty getting back to the beach.
It is extremely important for those who wish to kayak to the islands to always check the weather forecasts, let someone know how long you’re planning to be out on the water and take a phone in a waterproof bag just in case you need to contact emergency services.