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Be careful out there

SURF lifeguards have urged beach goers across Tairawhiti to be extra vigilant next week as predicted big seas generated by a passing ex-tropical weather system hit east coast beaches.

Surf Life Saving NZ national lifesaving manager Allan Mundy said the weather system could result in bigger waves and stronger rips.

“Which means the risk for swimmers and beach goers getting into difficulty will increase and we often experience an increase in difficult, challenging rescues during this type of weather pattern.”

Mr Mundy said even people walking along the shore should watch out for large waves surging up the beach.

“These have the power to knock people over and will travel well past the high tide mark. Young children, the elderly and small dogs are most at risk.”

Mr Mundy said anyone who goes swimming should swim between the flags.

“Do not swim alone and stay well within your depth. Be aware that when a large surging wave comes into shore, what was your swimming depth will be lost as the surge carries you out at least an extra metre — that's half the height of an adult.

“If you have been swimming in shoulder-deep water you now are in water well over your head, in a body of water that will want to get back out to sea.”

Mr Mundy said anyone who did get into difficulty should remember the “3Rs” rip survival plan.

“Relax and float to conserve your energy. Raise your hand to signal for help. Ride the rip until it stops and you can swim back to shore or help arrives.”

He said raising your hand will attract attention and indicate that you need help.

“With surf lifeguards doing observational patrols in the area, either we will see you, or someone will alert us to your need.

“Remain calm and continue to float until help arrives.”

The Met Service has warned areas east from Northland to Coromandel, Bay of Plenty to East Cape, Gisborne and down to Hawke's Bay, and maybe even Wairarapa, may be affected by the high seas.

Paid lifeguards remain on duty on week-days through next week at Midway, Waikanae and at Wainui.

CAUTION URGED: With big seas expected to pound the region's beaches next week surf lifeguards have urged the public to take extra care, swim between the flags and even watch out for big waves sweeping on to the shore as they walk along the beach. File picture