Stay water safe this summer

  • Judith Collins

As New Zealanders look forward to their Christmas holidays, water safety organisations are joining ACC Minister Judith Collins in urging people to stay safe in and around water this summer.

”This year 117 people have drowned already. This is 30 more than the total drowning toll last year of 87,” says Ms Collins.

“New Zealand’s drowning toll has been falling over the last 20 years, but sadly this has not continued this year leaving more than 100 families grieving the loss of a loved one.

“Drownings traditionally peak in warm weather, particularly during weekends and holidays, and people drown not just in the sea but in rivers, lakes and paddling pools.

“This summer we want people to enjoy the water and take some simple steps to keep themselves and their family safe,” says Ms Collins.

To stay safe this Christmas, follow these water safety tips:

Water safety

• Be prepared. Learn to swim and survive. Use safe and correct equipment. Know the weather and water conditions before you get in.
• Watch out for yourselves and others. Always watch children around water. Swim with others and in lifeguard zones.
• Be aware of the dangers. Enter water feet first and obey all safety signs and warnings. Do not drink alcohol and swim.
• Know your limits. Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.

Boating Safety

• Life jackets. Take them – Wear them. It will increase your survival time.
• Skipper Responsibility. Keep everyone safe – stay within the limits of your vessel and your experience.
• Communications. Take at least two separate waterproof ways of communicating.
• Marine weather. Check the forecast first. If in doubt, don’t go out.
• Avoid alcohol. Safe boating and alcohol do not mix. Stay alert and aware.