Lucky kayaker alive and home for Christmas thanks to Coastguard volunteers, Surf Life Saving and Whanganui Police

Heading out of the Whanganui River to cross the bar with at low tide and with a strong westerly wind wasn't in favor of an experienced kayaker yesterday. Shortly before 6pm, Coastguard Wanganui volunteers were alerted by a member of the public that had witnessed a kayaker capsize and become separated from their kayak after trying to navigate what can be a treacherous bar in the wrong circumstances.

The kayaker had travelled down the Whanganui River from further up the river and attempted to navigate the Whanganui Bar intending to land at Castlecliff beach when he capsized.

Coastguard Wanganui President Garry Hawkins said "the conditions on the Bar yesterday were quite rough with roughly metre breaking waves."

"A search was carried out in conjunction with the local Surf Life Saving club boat, we finally sighted the kayaker about 3km down the coast and about 1km out to sea, he had been separated from his kayak at that stage. The man was bought on board the Coastguard Rescue Vessel by volunteers and taken back to shore before being transferred to Whanganui Hospital for further checks. It was a huge relief to spot him and get him safely back to shore".

"No matter how experienced you are, checking your local marine weather conditions before you head out especially if attempting to navigate one of the countries often dangerous harbour bars is essential and wearing a lifejacket makes all the difference - they've never ruined a day out on the water. Today the situation could have been very different if we hadn't got to the kayaker when we did," said Mr Hawkins.

Summer is here on the door step with Coastguard New Zealand expecting it to be one of its busiest yet. For Kiwis our waterways are such a big part of the play ground of Aotearoa but skipper responsibility, wearing lifejackets and carrying two forms of water proof communications so that you can contact someone if you get into trouble are key to having a great day out and getting home safely at the end of it to family and friends.


For more information please contact;
Georgie Smith, Head of Marketing & Communications
021 436 834, [email protected]

Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity