Volunteers rescue kayaker just in time on Lake Rotorua

The rescue of a kayaker on Lake Rotorua yesterday has renewed calls from Coastguard for people to check the weather conditions before venturing onto the water.

Coastguard Rotorua Lakes was activated by Police around 3.25pm Tuesday to reports of a kayaker in difficulty near Mokoia Island in 11kt westerly winds. Four Coastguard volunteers quickly launched MV Rotorua II, with Police aboard, and arrived at the scene soon after.

Upon arrival, the kayaker was found on top of his kayak, tired and wet. Volunteers immediately retrieved the man and his kayak from the water, assessing him onboard for injuries. He was provided with a dry lifejacket and blankets to keep warm. An ambulance was requested and met Coastguard at the jetty at 4.15pm for transfer.

Coastguard Rotorua Lakes Jonathan Findon said it was great that the man was wearing a lifejacket, had his phone and had advised others of his plans.

“There is no doubt that without a lifejacket or a mobile phone, this incident could have quickly escalated. I’m proud of our volunteer’s efforts to quickly respond on a Tuesday afternoon and get this man home safely to his family,” he said.

“This is also a timely reminder as we approach Labour Weekend and an expected hot summer. Lake Rotorua presents numerous challenges for those unfamiliar with the conditions – especially kayakers. With the prevailing westerly wind, some of the lake is protected, but if you paddle beyond shelter, it can be extremely difficult and exhausting to return to shore.”

Over the past year, Coastguard Rotorua Lakes has responded to numerous kayaking incidents, including two deaths involving significant multi-week searches.

Coastguard Rotorua Lakes' key kayaking safety tips:

  • Always wear a well-fitting and fit-for-purpose lifejacket as well as warm clothing 
  • Double check the weather conditions before heading out 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back 
  • Carry two forms of water-proof communications, including a charged mobile-phone 
  • Call 111 and ask for Police in the event of an emergency 

For more information, contact:
Ben Parsons
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor
[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