With hot weather forecast for the long weekend and with people expected to head to the beaches, rivers and lakes in
large numbers Water Safety New Zealand is urging everyone to ‘Respect the water’.
“While we want everyone to get out and enjoy the waterways it’s so important that water safety is part of your
preparations,” says CEO Jonty Mills.
“With eight preventable drowning fatalities already this year across a diverse range of activities and environments we
need everyone to think about the risks no matter what the aquatic activity,” says Mills.
Over the last five Auckland Anniversary weekends (2015 – 2019) there have been six preventable fatalities in Auckland,
Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne.
“These fatalities happened while people were swimming, jumping into water, shell fishing, freediving and shows that all
aquatic activities come with risk – this is why everyone needs to think about water safety,” says Mills.
Key water safety messages are:
• Wear a fit for purpose correctly fitted lifejacket when boating, shell fishing, rock fishing, paddle boarding and
• When out on the water take two waterproof ways to call for help and avoid alcohol.
• Swim between the flags at a patrolled beach and leave the inflatables at home.
• When diving and snorkelling have a safety plan and follow best practice – if in doubt don’t go out.
• Always take a buddy as a high number of drowning fatalities happen when people are alone.
• Rivers are changeable and contain hidden dangers - check before you jump and establish an exit point.
• Get local knowledge about local risks and obey warning signs.
• Toddlers require constant active adult supervision around water at all times and keep them within arms-reach and check
properties for water hazards.
“We need everyone to remember the water safety code. Be prepared, watch out for yourself and each other, be aware of the
dangers and know your limits” says Jonty Mills.