Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is warning beachgoers and holidaymakers that large swells will create difficult conditions at beaches across the North Island’s east coast over the coming days and that they should take extra care when visiting these coastlines.
Swells peaking at up to three metres have been issued for the entire east coast of the North Island, with rain, wind and surging swells expected throughout the weekend.
SLSNZ Chief Operations Officer Chris Emmett says that the New Year period has already seen some notable rescues at beaches across the country so far, and beachgoers should exercise caution and take care as conditions change and become more dangerous.
“We’ve seen a number of rescues and incidents, particularly on Auckland’s west coast, since New Year’s Day at beaches across the Northern Region,” he says. “We are now seeing forecasting for particularly challenging conditions on the east coast of the North Island, and we are urging caution. Large waves mean strong currents and unpredictable conditions.
“Many beaches across the east coast are already experiencing building surf, with strong winds to follow later in the weekend. Our suggestion is that people exercise common sense and be aware of the risks as the swell is expected to continue building throughout the weekend. We suggest people check the SafeSwim website before visiting the beach. If the conditions are poor, we urge the public to reconsider their trip and stay out of the water.”
If lifeguards do not put up red and yellow flags and instead display ‘No Swimming’ signs and red flags, SLSNZ is asking that beachgoers respect that the water is too dangerous for recreational activities.
Eastern coastlines from Northland through to the Bay of Plenty can expect heavy swells that may not ease until Tuesday 23 January, so surfers in particular are being urged to not overestimate their abilities and underestimate the environment.
“Strong surf will create strong currents,” says Chris Emmett. “There will be a lot of water moving that can easily knock you off your feet, so keep an eye on children, making sure to stay well away from the water. We also ask that storm-spectators and rock-fishers take extra care if spending any time on the rocks this week. Large swells can be unpredictable and easily knock you into dangerous waters.
“Again, we suggest that before you head out, monitor the Safeswim site for updates and please only choose patrolled beaches for swimming and other water-related activities this week,” he says.
All SLSNZ clubs will be closely monitoring weather conditions throughout the week.