Otago lifeguards are hanging up their hats and putting the flags away after spending more than 3700 hours patrolling the beaches this summer.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand Otago/Southland club support officer Sam Clutterbuck said there were eight rescues, 24 first aids and six searches at Otago beaches during the season, which finished in mid-March.

Two of the first aids were major incidents while the six searches included some search and rescue events.

There were fewer rescues compared with last season – when there was 36 – which was most likely due to fewer people spending time at the beaches, Mr Clutterbuck said.

“I think it was a bit lower compared to last season purely because the weather was not as great and not many people were going to the beaches.”

Between the four Otago clubs – St Kilda, St Clair, Brighton and Warrington – volunteer lifeguards clocked up 3780.75 patrol hours, assisted six members of the public to safety and performed 1304 preventative actions with about 2967 members of the public accounted in those actions.

Preventative actions could be anything from moving the flags to a safer spot, moving people to between the flags or getting sharp objects off the beach, he said.

The most common was getting people swimming between the flags and away from rips, Mr Clutterbuck said.

As well as keeping an eye on the beaches, many Otago surf life savers also competed at several events throughout the season.

A stand-out was St Kilda surf life saver Danyon Noakes who won a gold medal in the under-16 beach flag event.

Danyon (16) also finished first in the same event at the Southern Regional Championships in February.

The next surf life-saving season will start again towards the end of the year.