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Southern Trust jet ski proving worth

21 December 2017

Southern Trust jet ski proving worth


John Bryant jokes that having a jet ski has lengthened his coaching lifespan by a good decade.  Having the experienced surf lifesaver and Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service coach out the back when the waves are up has already produced some serious additional benefits, however.

In late 2016, with the generous support of Southern Trust, MMLS invested in the powered water craft to enable Bryant to be on hand and on the water during club training, while also supporting safety at club events.

“We realised with our dynamic training environment, we needed to lift the duty of care for our athletes,” Bryant explains.  “I used to paddle out with the various squads on a surf ski but having a jet ski has given me a much more stable, responsive platform from which to up-skill our athletes and also to react if they need my help.”

Over the past year, he’s been on hand to provide first aid when his athletes have been injured by stray boards, while he’s also been able to shepherd junior athletes away from precarious positions near rocks quickly and safely.

But the benefits to the public have been, quite literally, lifesaving.  Bryant has performed nearly a dozen rescues on the jet ski already, including five in the past two weeks, when warm waters and heavy swells coincided.  In one, he picked up three exhausted snorkelers from Motuotau (Rabbit) Island; in another, he was able to rescue two surfers, too tired to get back in after fighting strong currents.

“Our squads spend so much time on the water, it’s inevitable that we’re going to be out there when someone needs help and to be able to assist them with a vessel of opportunity in the heaviest swells, in places we’d struggle to operate an IRB, has been a game-changer.”

MMLS has worked with Maritime New Zealand and local authorities to gain necessary permits, allowing them to operate in a area of Mount Maunganui coastline usually out of bounds to jet skis.  
Now after a year, Southern Trust and local suppliers Action Sports Direct have traded in the old ski after nearly 200hrs of use and helped the club purchase a new one, ready for a busy summer ahead.

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