What are the chances of drowning in the Waikato?!
22 December 2005
For immediate release
What are the chances of drowning this holiday period in the Waikato?!
Every summer whanau head to the water like nothing else! Our national treasure for recreation, gathering kaimoana and just relaxing by, is cause for much concern through the holiday period, Christmas until the end of January.
Although no time of year is ever safe, the summer months present the best time to be in the water. Popular swimming holes, beaches and fishing spots come alive. Unfortunately so too do the drowning statistics.
The telling historic drowning toll for the Waikato indicates that 50% of the regions total drownings for the year will occur over the summer months (December - February). As frightening as it is predictable, the fact that there will be approximately 8 drownings between now and the end of February is cause for concern and of course warning when near water, especially by the river.
Mark Haimona, Water Safety Coordinator for the Waikato region explains: "the exaggeration in the drowning toll is horrific at this time of year, with the river and 0-1 km offshore being the main areas to be careful of. The Waikato River is a beautiful waterway, but for Maori this summer, 60% of the regions total annual drownings will occur because careless mistakes are made."
Water Safety New Zealand has been driving the Kia Maanu Kia Ora (Stay Afloat Stay Alive) campaign throughout 2005 in preparation for the summer months. Analysis of the drowning statistics for the Waikato still present typical warnings such as remembering to supervise tamariki around water. Too many preschoolers drown every summer, all it takes is as much as putting the paddling pool away or making sure a responsible caregiver is supervising children at all times.
"The best way for whanau to ensure summer doesn't end in tragedy is to make sure that the water is enjoyed and that when going fishing, swimming or boating, make sure the basic safety precautions have been taken and someone knows where you are. Kia Maanu Kia Ora!"