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WaveRunners Proving to be a Game Changer for Surf Life Saving Northern Region

Yamaha Personal Watercraft have been making an impact on North Island beaches with Surf Life Saving Northern Region’s ‘Rescue Watercraft’ (RWC) Programme. 

Over the busy summer holiday period, a partnership between Yamaha and Surf Life Saving Northern Region sees up to six Yamaha WaveRunner personal watercraft deployed across a number of North Island beaches from a variety of patrol tasks to rescue missions.


And they certainly have been busy. Last year, the RWC Programme undertook no less than 20 rescues. Surf Life Saving Northern Region defining a ‘rescue’ as being where a person requires immediate help to return to shore (or place of safety) and who without intervention would have suffered distress, injury or drowning.


“Surf Life Saving Northern Region has chosen to work with Yamaha, for one they wanted to work with us, and sometimes that’s half the struggle,” says Surf Life Saving Northern Region’s Leif Neilson.


And by all accounts, the programme between the two organisations has been a success.


“Since we started running the RWC over the region, that programme did 20 rescues. If the RWC had not of been there, that would have been a life lost.”


Adding to the 20 rescues, there were 59 ‘assists’, seven searches, 1417 preventative actions - An occurrence where a lifeguard identifies a potentially dangerous location and works to remove/educate/prevent people from getting into trouble at said location. The total number of people involved in these preventative actions numbered 5239.


“The beauty of the WaveRunner over an IRB (Inflatable Rescue Boat) is that for the operators, it’s a lot easier on the body, and it carries a lot more speed.


“The conditions we operate in, sometimes it can be 2-3 metres and to have a craft that is reliable and durable enough to deal with some of the dynamic forces coming through it’s massive for us, and the Yamaha stands up to it.


“Without the WaveRunners, being here on this stretch of coast we definitely wouldn’t be saving the lives that we get to. It’s game-changer for us.”


Yamaha Marine’s National Manager, Matt Walton-Smith says the organisation is thrilled to see the success of the RWC Programme.


“We’re extremely pleased to be able to partner Surf Life Saving Northern Region with the RWC Programme,” says Walton-Smith.


“What’s even more pleasing for us, is that the programme is getting results, and demonstrating the inherent durability and reliability of Yamaha WaveRunners.”