As the summer holidays wrap up, there is still pressure on the water safety sector to keep preventable drownings to a minimum.
Last year, provisional figures from Water Safety New Zealand showed a 13% increase in preventable drownings on 2016. There were 88 preventable drownings in 2017, versus 78 in 2016.
“I can’t sugar coat it,” says CEO Jonty Mills. “The water is our playground but it’s incredibly unforgiving. Most of the time, it comes down to poor decision making in the general sense. That’s why most drowning deaths are considered preventable.”
Preventable drowning fatalities are those where water safety sector intervention could have had an influence, such as when a victim was boating, swimming or diving.
“Sector resources are stretched beyond their capability. This is a sector which relies on volunteers and is predominantly non-government funded.”
“New Zealand’s drowning problem is a complex one. We have a very diverse and growing population with very high participation rates across a wide range of different activities and aquatic environments” says Jonty.
Drowning remains to number one cause of recreational death and number three cause of accidental death in New Zealand. This year (as at 29 January 2018), 11 people have drowned, two more than last year.