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Swimmers urged to pick patrolled beaches

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016

A day out at the beach turned to tragedy for 15 people last summer who drowned at unpatrolled locations.

As 4000 volunteer lifeguards head out on another patrol season, Surf Life Saving NZ is urging people to swim between the flags.

National lifesaving manager Allan Mundy says lifeguards saved 1517 people from life threatening situations during the 2015-16 season, which ran from October 24 to March 22.

Of the 15 drownings that occurred at beaches over the period, none was at a patrolled location.

"We cannot stress enough, the importance of being prepared and choosing one of our 80 patrol locations nationwide so that we can be there for you if you get into trouble," Mr Mundy said.

"The safest place to swim is always between the flags as lifeguards actively seek out the safest place on the beach to set them up and will regularly move them throughout the day as the surf conditions change."

The season officially begins on Labour Weekend at Far North, Raglan, Mount Maunganui and some Coromandel beaches.

Patrols will be rolled out through the rest of the country as the weather warms up.

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