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Water Related Deaths Still Occurring

4 May 2004

Water Related Deaths Still Occurring

Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) today released drowning statistics for the period to the end of April 2004. Six people drowned in April bringing the total drownings for the year to date to forty seven (47).

Alan Muir, Executive Director WSNZ said "the April drownings are average for the same period over the past three years. Overall figures for the year to date see us tracking well against last years record low drowning toll but are no reason for any form of complacency".

The majority of drownings this year are the result of recreation activities, a third of which were swimming related. This is a reversal of recent years trends where non recreational (when the victim had no intention of being in the water) has been slightly higher than recreational drownings.

"Participants in recreational activities need to consider the risk associated with the activity and plan accordingly. While it is obvious that higher participation rates in aquatic activities over the summer months creates the likelihood of more incidents the majority of these tragedies could have been prevented with better attitudes and behaviour".

Two significant tragedies occurred involving five victims who were boogie boarding and surf boarding. These included the incidents at Browns Bay and also Omaio Bay, Opotiki "Such multiple tragedies in these type of boarding activities are very rare" Alan Muir commented.

WSNZ is concerned with the number of drowning victims occurring during land based fishing activities. To date this year six (6) people have drowned while carrying out one of the most popular recreational activities that New Zealanders participate in. "With better clothing and equipment available such activities are not now restricted to the summer months, recreational fishing is a year round activity and therefore those participating need to ensure they take time to view and access the environment they are fishing in, even if they have been there previously, and to fish with a buddy" said Alan Muir.


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