Water Safety

Below is some useful information about staying safe while enjoying some of Whanganui's popular swim spots over the summer months.​

Wharf Street ​Boat Ramp 

This area is generally unsafe for swimming while boats are being launched. Boats are unable to stop suddenly and there is a high risk of serious injury if swimmers become caught in a boat's propeller wash and are struck by a propeller.

The water level in this part of the river changes very dramatically. Hidden logs and other debris drift into the area and can make swimming hazardous.

Row​​ing Pontoons

Most rowing clubs are ok with swimmers using their pontoons as long as they respect the rowers as they get their boats in and out of the water. 

Negotiating swimmers while carrying a heavy boat could result in injury to both swimmer and rower as well as damage to the boat.

C​​ity Bridge

We don't actively encourage jumping off the City Bridge into the river. However, if you are going to do this please take care. Check the water for obstacles before you jump. This Includes logs and debris as well as rowers and other water craft who use the river frequently during summer. Take care as you come up onto the bridge as there is a lot of traffic.


We have two patrolled beaches - Castlecliff and Mowhanau beaches. Both beaches are patrolled by Wanganui Surf Lifesaving Lifeguards from 12 noon to 6.00pm each day over the summer, ending on 3 March 2019.   Please swim between the flags and listen to the lifeguards who are there to keep you safe.

Information abo​​ut rip currents

A rip current is outgoing current on a surf beach that can quickly carry swimmers away from the shore. They are a common occurrence on Whanganui's coastline. Swimmers are advised to avoid swimming in or near a rip current.

A rip is identified by:

  • Discoloured or murky brown water caused by sand stirred up off the bottom
  • A smoother surface with much smaller waves, with waves breaking either side
  • Debris floating out to sea
  • A rippled look, when the water around is generally calm 

Mosq​​uito Point

While enjoying Mosquito Point, please check for debris, such as logs, on the river and monitor swimming conditions, particularly after heavy rain. It is also important to look out for other users to make sure everyone is safe and can enjoy this great swimming spot together.

Have fun at any of our swimming areas in the region this summer, and remember to check the Safe Swim Spots Map on Horizons Regional Council's website for up-to-date information about potential safety risks before heading out: http://www.horizons.govt.nz/managing-natural-resources/water/safe-swim-spots-map

Page reviewed: 28 Jan 2019 12:09pm