Whangarei Heads Volunteer Surf Life Saving Patrol was established in 1968 by locals concerned at the dangerous nature of Ocean Beach. They originally patrolled from the lookout car park, and worked out of a tin shed near the current lookout which stored their rescue equipment, travelling to and from the beach each patrolling day. 1988 saw the patrol have a Keith Hay relocatable building sited at the lookout. Moves were made in the next few years to relocate to the current site above the car park at the end of Ranui Road. This was not without hurdles, as the public and community objected resulting in a lengthy consent process. Consent was finally given and the move was made. After many years of use, this building was retired and in 2017 a brand new building was put in its place thanks to the amazing team at Home World.
The Patrol Today
Current membership at Ocean Beach stands at 59, with Junior Surf at around another 80. Age is no barrier, teens to 50 year olds do the yards, the patrolling, the preventatives and the rescues.
Patrols start at the end of October and run for 6 months over summer to April. The busy time is the Christmas holiday period which is full on with the crowds hitting the beach for R and R.
The Patrolling procedure at Ocean Beach is in line with SLSNZ procedure, which is pro-active, i.e. Risk management from the car park to the water, and then more.
We run three patrols, weekend about with a core of (usually) 10 qualified Lifeguards, plus the trainees, and non-swimming Patrol Support.