Muriwai Beach to remain closed

All west coast beaches have returned to normal operating status other than Muriwai, which will remain closed until Saturday. This decision has been made by Auckland Council together with Surf Life Saving Northern Region, Police and the Department of Conservation.

Mayor Len Brown says yesterday’s tragedy at Muriwai has touched the hearts of Aucklanders.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Adam Strange and also with the people of Muriwai, who have rallied to support each other through this time.

“In the coming weeks, we will talk more about our preparedness to deal with rare incidents like this, but for now we must let the families have some privacy and allow our Lifeguards and park rangers to continue with their good work,” he says.

Surf Lifeguards will continue to have a presence on Muriwai Beach until it is reopened and park rangers will be assisting with visitor management.

Although the chances of a shark attack like this are very low, Surf Life Saving has some guidelines in place for safe swimming and to help reduce the risk of incidents involving sharks and humans.

Patrolled areas marked by the red and yellow flags remain the safest place to swim.

Surf Life Saving Northern Region lifesaving and club support manager Tom Burgess says swimmers should always obey the advice of Surf Lifeguards and heed all flags and notice board warnings. “Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted or if advised by the Lifeguards that a shark has been sighted. If you sight a shark yourself make sure you alert others,” he says.

Mr Burgess says it’s only natural that people may feel nervous about entering the water but a few general rules will help reduce the risk of a shark attack taking place.

“Swimmers should avoid entering the water after dusk, at night or before dawn when some sharks are typically more active. You should also avoid swimming in, or near, murky or silt-laden waters or near schools of fish. Never swim or surf alone and, of course, one of our key safety messages is always – if in doubt, stay out,” he says.

Mr Burgess says, with council support, they have also sought expert advice from their counterparts in Australia and from the Department of Conservation’s shark expert.

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