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Lower Drownings Being Maintained

7 September 2004
Media Release
For immediate release

Lower Drownings Being Maintained

Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) today released drowning statistics for the period to the end of August 2004. Eight people drowned in August bringing the total drownings for the year to date to 73. This represents a record low in drownings for any January to August (inclusive) period.

Alan Muir, Executive Director WSNZ, said, "the area of most gain this year has been in the category of immersion accidents which have seen eight drownings to date compared to the average of 21 over the past five years. This represents a 60% reduction in immersion accidents and is the prime reason for the lower drowning toll of recent years being maintained. Immersion accidents are when the victim had no intent of being in the water and have traditionally been one of the higher categories of drownings recorded. Other areas of gain to date this year include powered boating activities where there has been four drownings compared to nine in 2003; underwater activities down to three against seven last year".

The last three years have seen a reversal in the trend of non-recreational drownings being higher than for those victims associated with recreation activities. "This points quite clearly that recreational users of water based activities are still taking unnecessary risks and in the majority of cases could have been avoided but for a little more diligence either during preparation or whilst undertaking their chosen activity. Participants in recreational aquatic activities need to consider the risk associated with the activity and plan accordingly particularly as the onset of spring suggests many more people will be heading to the water with warmer weather anticipated", said Alan Muir.


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