Surf lifeguards must be fully vaccinated from today


Surf lifeguards patrolling Aotearoa’s beaches have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from today.

Surf Life Saving lifeguards test out a rescue boat at Muriwai Beach, Auckland.

Surf Life Saving NZ lifeguards wheeling out a rescue boat at Muriwai Beach, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Surf Life Saving New Zealand gave its members about two months’ notice.

The organisation’s chief executive Paul Dalton said the rule applies to patrolling guards, patrol support, and response teams like Search and Rescue squads.

During the pandemic there has had to be more contingency planning in case the virus spreads through patrol teams.

Now, Dalton is confident clubs throughout the motu won’t have any reductions in the number of lifeguards on patrol or patrolling capabilities as 91 percent of those eligible to be vaccinated have had both shots.

However, he is concerned any spread of Covid-19 could still affect some clubs. Clubs have to make their own decisions about other people on club premises who aren’t lifeguards, including non-patrolling members.

Most clubs have made vaccines mandatory for everyone.

“For other people involved in Surf Life Saving that’s largely on a club-by-club basis, managing who is entering the premises, who’s engaging in various club activity, those sort of thing,” Dalton said.

“Most clubs are going down the path of having all activities having to be undertaken by [only] vaccinated people. So that adds more hope … that everybody involved in surf lifesaving across the country will be fully vaccinated for the season.”

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