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Fishermen Dominate Holiday Drowning Toll

Fishermen Dominate Holiday Drowning Toll

Five men drowned – four of them while fishing or gathering seafood – this official Christmas holiday period (that began on 24 December at 4pm and finished at 6am this morning).

The toll is the same as last year and below the five-year average of nine for this period.

Water Safety New Zealand CEO Matt Claridge says it’s a tragedy that five families will begin the New Year mourning the loss of a father, brother, son or grandfather.

“Yet again men – especially those out hunting and gathering – dominate our drowning statistics. And with a number of close calls and rescues involving males around the country, this number could easily have been even higher.”

Two of the men drowned while fishing off rocks at Maunganui Bluff near Dargaville, a third when scuba diving at Motiti Island and the fourth while fishing off the wharf at Kauri Point. The fifth drowning occurred in a home bath.

Mr Claridge says New Zealanders need to look after one another around water.

“We need to remind each other when we’re heading out boating or fishing off rocks – wear a lifejacket, watch the weather, don’t drink alcohol and let others know where you’re going.”

“I say this every year, anything more than zero is too many deaths. New Zealand as a nation needs to decide that the issue of drowning must be addressed and water safety needs to become a priority for all.”

WSNZ will release the drowning toll for 2013 (national and regional) on 8 January 2014.

ENDS

Note to editors: on 3 January 2013, Water Safety New Zealand announced a Christmas holiday period drowning toll of three. This was later increased to five following coroners findings.

ENDS

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