Using a unified voice to amplify its message, the Water Safety
sector is urging people to make water safety a top priority this
holiday season as a bumper summer approaches.
There have been 11 more preventable fatal drownings so far this
year compared to the same time last year and there are fears that
it is set to grow even further as Kiwis head out in droves to enjoy
New Zealand's beaches, rivers, lakes, swimming pools and other
water spots this Christmas.
High temperatures are expected in the coming weeks leading to
increased participation across multiple environments and activities
in, on and around the water and Surf Life Saving New Zealand,
Coastguard and Water Safety New Zealand are concerned about the
impact this could have if people don't have the presence of mind to
think about water safety for themselves, friends and family.
Water Safety New Zealand CEO Jonty Mills says drowning remains
the number one cause of recreational death and the number three
cause of accidental death in New Zealand.
The rise in fatal drownings of toddlers and under-five's is
particularly disheartening, with seven occurring year to date
versus a five-year average of four, he says.
"The only fool-proof solution is constant adult supervision and
keeping toddlers at arm's length at all times around the
Mr Mills says the breadth of activities and environments makes
drownings a complex problem and all Kiwis need to take
responsibility for themselves and others in order to change our
attitudes around water.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand CEO Paul Dalton says the long
awaited summer is here at last and wants people to go out and enjoy
it safely by visiting one of the 80 patrolled locations
"Taking a few minutes to plan a day out at the beach could just
save your life. There is a very important reason why we urge people
to choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags. The fact
is, it is always the safest place to swim," he says.
Mr Dalton says so often, the people rescued by Surf Lifeguards
have overestimated their ability and underestimated the risk and
before they know it, they are in trouble.
"Take a moment to stop and think before entering the water and
if in doubt, stay out," he says.
Coastguard CEO Patrick Holmes says his Christmas wish is that
everyone who goes out boating this summer comes home safely.
"There are two simple things that people can do to ensure
this happens - wear a lifejacket and carry two forms of waterproof
communication so that you can call for help if you do get into
Mr Holmes says most accidents on the water occur suddenly, with
"There may be no time to grab a lifejacket and it's extremely
difficult to put one on in the water. A lifejacket never ruined a
day on the water so take them and wear them."
Coastguard's Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign is currently
touring the country enabling people to trade their old, damaged, or
out of date lifejackets for a great discount on a brand-new,
quality Hutchwilco lifejacket. Find out more at www.old4New.nz
While enjoying the water is part of New Zealand's way of life,
the dangers are real and things can change quickly.
This summer everyone needs to remember the four rules of the
Water Safety Code and avoid alcohol while taking part in aquatic
1.) Be prepared
2.) Watch out for yourself and each other
3.) Be aware of the dangers
4.) Know your limits
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Smith, Media & Communications Manager,
Phone 0276 488 823
Water Safety New Zealand
Ben Christie, Senior Communications & Media
Phone 021 770 285
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or
Coastguard New Zealand
Julia James, Communications Manager
Phone 021 435 804