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Seven Drownings in May

9 June 2006
Media Release
For immediate release

Seven Drownings in May

The drowning statistics for May have been released by Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ). There were seven drowning fatalities, including the catastrophic boating tragedy in Foveaux Strait where five people drowned.

The average drowning toll for the month of May over the last ten years is eight.

WSNZ Project Manager Matt Claridge explains “the family boating tragedy is an unfortunate reminder of the unpredictability of the marine environment. The satisfaction of again reporting lower than average drowning statistics is tempered by one tragic incident.”

Analysis and review of New Zealand Drowning Statistics since 1980 indicates the following in relation to multiple drowning incidents whilst recreating in boats:

- There have been 45 boating incidents where two people drowned
- There have been 13 boating incidents where three people drowned
- There has been one boating incident where five people drowned

Two other people drowned in May, both in rivers. Rivers continue as the number one site for drownings to occur in New Zealand since DrownBase™ records began in 1980.

There are on average 35 river drownings every year in New Zealand. WSNZ recently convened the New Zealand Non-Powered Craft Forum. On the agenda was the issue of river drowning deaths. This provided the opportunity for sector leaders to come together to discuss issues, opportunities and water safety education relating to rivers in particular.

Claridge says “the ongoing role of drowning prevention and water safety education is of most importance to the community. Water safety messages and education initiatives continue to educate school children and the wider community in various forms. It is important for parents and caregivers to understand basic safety measures for children around water.”


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