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New water safety signage standard

New water safety signage Standard soon to make a splash!

A new Standard on water safety signage has been released by Standards New Zealand at a launch at Parliament today hosted by Chris Carter, Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Local Government and Conservation.

In 2002 New Zealand recorded its second lowest drowning toll in 20 years with 123 deaths. This figure is no cause for complacency however, says Brendon Ward from Water Safety NZ – Chair of the committee that developed the Standard.

“Given the country’s extensive coastline and New Zealanders’ well known enjoyment of all types of water sports, we need to keep a focus on safety. We wanted a Standard that establishes a level of consistency across New Zealand. The Standard is one of our strategies to achieve long term sustainable reductions in drowning,” Ward says.

The number of tourists or new immigrants to New Zealand who have drowned at our beaches make regular headline news. “While these signs in the new Standard are meant to protect everyone’s safety, the fact that they are based on internationally-recognised symbols rather than words aims to reduce the number of incidents in people new to New Zealand,” Ruth Heather, Project Manager says.

The Standard is not limited to beaches and applies to any water to which the public has access, including lakes and rivers, boat ramps, waterways, drainage systems and public pools. So in addition to local and central government agencies including TLAs (territorial local authorities), regional councils and the Department of Conservation, any company or private individual who provides public access to water, should use the Standard.

Standards New Zealand is keen to assist implementation of NZS8690:2003. The Standard is printed in full-colour and provides practical, easy-to-follow guidelines, and comes with a free CD featuring graphic images of all signs, suitable for multimedia presentations. An accompanying high resolution CD can also be ordered, in addition to the hard copy, which provides sign-makers with exact specifications for designing the new signs.

To order the Standard for Water Safety Signage (NZS8690:2003) contact Standards New Zealand Sales Ph 0800 735 656 or fax: 04 498 5994.


For more information contact: Ruth Heather Standards New Zealand Ph 04 495 0925 Fax 04 498 5994 E-mail:

Standards New Zealand is the trading arm of the Standards Council, a crown entity operating under the Standards Act 1988. The Standards Council, an appointed body with representatives from all sectors of the community, oversees the development and adoption of Standards and standards-related products.

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