Richmond Aquatic Centre lifeguard Jake Hogg and Swim Magic team leader Lisa Stanley are cautioning locals to take extra care in and around the water this summer. Photo: Matt McCrorie.

Urging local water safety this summer

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The warmer months are here, and one of the biggest safety concerns for the summer each year is around water safety.

Lisa Stanley, Swim Magic Team leader at the Richmond Aquatic Centre, says that no matter how often you swim, it’s important to be conscious about safety around all our waterways.

“Children always need to be supervised. They should stop and ask their adult if it is safe to go into the water. An adult should always be within arm’s length.”

Tasman Police are also encouraging the public to be responsible when getting out on the water, after two recent search and rescue incidents.

“Boating, kayaking, swimming, diving and other water-related activities are popular during summer but it is imperative people respect the water, be safety aware and always communicate their whereabouts,” says Tasman Police Search and Rescue coordinator, constable David Cogger.

On Christmas Day, a person was reported missing in the Motueka River and a Search and Rescue operation commenced immediately involving the Tasman Bay Swift Water Rescue team, a local jet boat operator, Fire and Emergency NZ and Police volunteers. However, the missing person was later found to have returned home, having left the area without letting their friends know.

Police say people heading out on the water should take some simple steps to protect themselves and others and avoid emergency services being called out needlessly. This includes ensuring that boats are properly equipped with life jackets and at least two forms of communication onboard, such as a cellphone and a VHS radio.

David also says it’s important to tell people where you are going and when you should be returning.

“People heading out into the water also need to keep an eye on conditions and changes in weather, stay well within their abilities, treat the water with respect and caution, and avoid alcohol.

“Police want everyone enjoying themselves on the water this summer to stay safe, aware, and well equipped.”