New Zealanders love the water – the ocean, swimming pools, rivers and lakes are a big part of our lives. Who doesn’t love a summer swim to cool down! Whether you’re playing in the waves or chilling by the pool, always remember to keep water safety top of mind.
Water Safety New Zealand is dedicated to reducing drownings and water-related injuries in Aotearoa. They work with various organisations, individuals, and the public to promote safety through leadership, advocacy, and education. While water activities are a significant part of Kiwi culture, sadly drowning incidents are too frequent.
Water Safety New Zealand reports that in 2022, there were 94 drownings, the highest in a decade, with 49 of these in the summer period alone4.
To help keep you safe in the water this summer, Water Safety New Zealand has developed the Water Safety Code, which includes four easy-to-follow steps to keep in mind whenever you’re near water5:
- Be prepared: Learn to swim and always use correct equipment. Check the weather, water conditions, and surroundings before jumping in. Use flotation devices if needed, especially for kids and non-confident swimmers
- Watch out for yourself and others: Keep an eye on kids and others around you in the water. Swim where lifeguards are present and check on anyone who seems in distress. Stay alert and within your comfort level
- Be aware of the dangers: Enter unknown water feet first and follow safety signs. Don’t swim after drinking alcohol. Be aware of potential dangers in different water bodies which can change unexpectedly.
- Know your limits: Challenge yourself but respect your limits. Learn safe rescue methods. Remember, even strong swimmers can face challenges like rips and waves. Enjoy the water responsibly, respecting both your limits and others.