Long Bay Regional Park is one of the most popular parks in Auckland. It is also one of the safest beaches in the country.
For surf lifesavers to erect flags - with their implicit message that swimmers should swim between them - on such a safe beach, when there is no difference between one section of the beach and any other, sends entirely the wrong signal.
Thousands ignore the flags. (And are quite safe in doing so.)
Ignorant individuals might think that they can safely ignore the flags at other beaches where rips do occur. And not realise their peril.
Suggestion: Surf Life Saving NZ, please rethink your strategy at Long Bay.
UPDATE: It is not an implicit message. It is explicit: "Swim between the flags". Eg see the caption
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Comment by sonyxperiageek, on 4-Jan-2015 19:42
Maybe because there aren't enough lifeguards to cover the entire area of Long Bay, hence the flags for your "extra" safety? They can't cover every inch of Long Bay at once!
Comment by wasabi2k, on 4-Jan-2015 19:58
This comment is ridiculous.
The flags define the safe, patrolled area in which to swim - which you know will be patrolled/watched by lifeguards.
You are welcome to swim outside of these - at your own risk. A consistent approach to safety at all beaches is ideal - hence "Always swim between the flags".
As has been said you can't watch the entire beach.
Comment by shk292, on 5-Jan-2015 08:28
We have a similar situation at Orewa - the beach is about 2.5km long, and there is pair of flags about 50m apart at an arbitrary point (which happens to be outside the SLSC). So, the SLSC are sayng the only way to swim safely at Orewa beach is to use this particular 2% of an inherently very safe beach? Nett result, thousands of families developing the understanding that the flags have no great meaning and it's safe to ignore them.
Comment by Sounddude, on 13-Jan-2015 10:31
"Just down the coast a little, at Browns Bay, several people have drowned. Is it patrolled? No. But Mairangi Bay, a little further south, has a surf lifesaving club and patrols. Not logical. "
Browns bay is patrolled during summer holidays and weekends.
Comment by Grant, on 23-Jan-2015 10:13
I understand that the Auckland East Coast beaches are the training and recruiting sites for SLNZ. On these safe beaches they can do all the training, testing and selection of young recruits without worrying as much about their safety before exposing them to the wild west coast beaches (and wild west coast beach goers). Sounds like an admirable strategy to me.
Comment by Grant, on 23-Jan-2015 18:29
Sorry David - I do agree with your original point. Surf Life Saving are missing a PR and recruiting opportunity, a sign like you suggest would be a good start.
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