Stay safe around water this summer – Waikato Police

Waikato Police are urging people to take care in and on the water this summer while you’re enjoying everything our beautiful District has on offer.

“We have some of the most spectacular beaches in the country, as well as swimming holes, harbours, and of course, the mighty Waikato River,” says Acting Waikato West Area Commander Joe Polaschek.

“And as the days get warmer and longer, more and more people will be keen to head out for a swim or take part in various water-based activities.

“But too often Police are called to tragic water-related incidents where something has gone wrong.

“We want everyone to come home to their whānau after a day enjoying the water. There’s nothing worse than having to tell loved ones a family member isn’t coming home.”

One big factor in water safety is mindset, says Waikato East Area Commander Inspector Mike Henwood.

“For example, too often we see cases where people have headed out to the ramp with their boat, and even though the conditions aren’t great when they get there, they decide to go out anyway because they’ve already come this far.

“We want to challenge that mindset – when it comes to water, it’s not worth taking the risk. Make the right decision for yourself and those with you, and respond to what you’re really seeing in front of you.”

In western Waikato, rock fishing is a popular pastime, but it can be extremely dangerous if you’re not prepared, says Acting Inspector Polaschek.

“Always wear a life jacket when rock fishing, even though you’re not out on the water.

“Make sure you’ve checked tide and swell information before heading out, so you’re not caught off guard.

“You should also never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas.”

You should also always wear a life jacket if you’re boating, jet skiing or using other craft on the water, says Inspector Henwood.

“Conditions can change in an instant, even in the warmer months, so it’s vital you’re prepared – it can literally save your life.”

“Boaties should have two forms of waterproof communication on board, make sure their equipment is safe and working, leave their trip intentions with someone onshore, and always check the water and weather forecast.”

Finally, it wouldn’t be a Kiwi summer without a swim at the beach or a dip in the river – but make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Actively supervise tamariki around water. Things can change in an instant.

Rivers are changeable and unpredictable and can contain hidden dangers. Check for hidden objects in swimming holes, such as logs. Water can change in depth each summer and currents can move objects underwater, so please look before you leap. Get local knowledge about the risks.

If swimming at the beach, swim between the flags, they are there to keep you safe and watch out for rips in the water.

Obey all safety signs and warnings, and never drink alcohol before swimming.

If you or someone else need help in an emergency, dial 111 immediately.

/NZ Police Public Release. View in full here.