While Bay of Plenty locals and visitors are enjoying their holiday break, a team of dedicated surf lifesaving search and rescue volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to ensure the public’s safety along the coastline of the Bay of Plenty, 24 hours a day, 7 days of the week, 365 days of the year.
That team, the iLine Construction Western Bay of Plenty Search & Rescue Squad, is a newly amalgamated group of surf lifesaving specialist search and rescue volunteers from four Surf Lifesaving Clubs along the BOP coastline (Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service, Omanu Surf Lifesaving Club, Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club and Pukehina Surf Rescue) who are working together to ensure all the beaches along our entire coast have specialist search and rescue coverage regardless of the time of day or year.
All squad members are volunteers and are Surf Lifeguards from these four local clubs and by combining forces the area has a larger talent pool to draw upon which will mean quicker response times, high-quality experienced responders, extensive area coverage, and better ability to scale up if situations require.
Local company iLine Construction has come on board as the major sponsor of the squad. Their contribution will support the squad, with vital equipment and training. iLine Construction is a local construction company, specialising in Project Planning, Pre-construction, Design, Cost Management and Construction.
Squad Coordinator, Stu Lowth says, “The funding we have received from iLine Construction is absolutely massive to us and hugely appreciated. Our team are all volunteers giving our time to help others. To have extra funds available to upskill our members and to provide vital rescue equipment so we can help others is awesome.”
Surf Lifesaving Eastern Region Lifesaving Manager Chaz Gibbons-Campbell says, “The after-hours coverage of the coastline that we now have with this call-out squad complements what our lifeguards already do when the flags are up on our local beaches so that regionally we can provide 24-hour coverage of all areas of the coast from Mt Maunganui down to Whakatane”.
Paul Hammond, Director of iLine Construction, said “We are a local company, and we are proud to be able to help our community where we can. If our money can help save lives, then that’s what matters.”
Elton Verran, Director of iLine Construction, adds “We are all about family and community and helping people at a grassroots level is very close to our hearts. So we are pleased we are in a position to be able to help both the local and visiting families in the Bay of Plenty area.”
The volunteers in the iLine Construction Western Bay of Plenty Search & Rescue squad are volunteering their time throughout the summer holiday period to help people in trouble and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While the recent inclement weather has meant a quieter time on the beach, the squad were exceptionally busy earlier in the holiday period. On December 29, they supplied additional volunteers to support paid lifeguards undertake 40 rescues and a further 40 assists at Mount Manganui.
Please ensure you keep yourselves and your families safe in the water and let our volunteers have a break these holidays. Choose a lifeguarded beach, swim between the flags and check the conditions on www.safeswim.org.nz before deciding to swim, and if in doubt, stay out.
If you do see anyone in trouble in the water, call 111 and ask for Police who will activate surf lifesaving response teams.
For further information on how to keep yourself safe in the surf this summer, you can find the SLSNZ surf safety messaging on the following link https://www.surflifesaving.org.nz/stay-safe/beach-safety-messages/beach-basics