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River lifesaving and rescue exercise

28 April 2022

Working with water is what we do and some of our teams work on water, which involves particular health and safety measures.

The main ‘boat’ in our fleet is the Christchurch weed harvester and the crew have to regularly be tested for water competencies for health and safety certification – both in the pool and on the river.

Recently the team were successfully examined at Taiora QEII pool for competencies such as swimming in clothes, treading water, swimming in lifejackets, and swimming a long distance.

Next up was a river lifesaving and rescue exercise in the Ōtakaro Avon River. This is important as a dinghy is used to get the skipper out to the weed harvester which is moored in one of the three rivers it services each night.

The team showed they could individually and collectively get into the dinghy from the water.

Together the team capsized the dinghy and showed they knew how to cope when trapped beneath it when it was upturned. They then righted the dinghy and scrambled back in.

Construction Foreman Paul ‘Beagle’ Costello had the role of trainer for these exercises.

He’s qualified in water rescue and is a long-serving Waimairi Surf Lifesaving Club surf instructor.

On these two occasions, he didn’t even need to get wet!

Supervisor Land Drainage Will Bartlett says, “We’re currently running a specified limits plan through Maritime New Zealand.

“We have built a training programme to show we’re regularly making sure our crew are competent in lifesaving and rescue exercises, alongside day-to-day running tasks and operational procedures,” he says.

Pictured during the testing at the pool are from left: Skipper Solomon Elliot, Team Leader Antonio Julian, and Crew Member Jonathan Inwood.

Every year the Citycare Water weed harvester crew cut more than 130,000 kilogrammes of aquatic weed for the Christchurch City Council.

Their efforts help lower the water levels in Christchurch’s three rivers and consequently assists with flood prevention.

Each year the Citycare Water Land Drainage Team hand cut another 160,000kg of aquatic weed from the river banks.

Pictured during the testing at the riverside from left are Beagle, Antonio, Julian and Solomon.

Please note: Our team is required to wear lifejackets when they are working on the water. For the purposes of this exercise to test competencies, they did not wear lifejackets.