4 Jan 2019

'Never swim alone' - Surf Life Saving NZ

2:55 pm on 4 January 2019

Surf Life Saving is reminding people not to swim alone, after an unnecessary search and rescue mission to find a man who went for a late night dip at a Gisborne beach.

Kaiti beach in Gisborne.

Kaiti Beach in Gisborne. Photo: RNZ / Katie Todd

A search was launched on Wednesday night, after reports a man went swimming off Kaiti Beach and hadn't returned to shore.

The man was in the water for an hour and a half and didn't return home until close to midnight - and he didn't realise people were searching for him, police said.

He heard about the search effort last night and contacted police.

Belinda Slement from Surf Life Saving was involved in the search and told Summer Times that while they're relieved the man is alive, they're frustrated the search could have been avoided.

"A lot of time and energy and resource went into that search," she said.

"That key safety message of never swimming alone and if you are going down to a beach or you are going for a swim, make sure you tell someone you're going if you are going by yourself."

In this case, Ms Slement said the man was swimming alone and he didn't tell anyone he had gone out.