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Summer Drownings up on Last Year

Summer Drownings up on Last Year

Thirty-five people drowned in New Zealand this summer- up four on last summer and the equivalent of three drownings every week.

The majority of official summer period (1 December to 28 February)drownings- eight deaths - occurred while the victims were participating in water sports or recreational activity. A further seven people drowned as a result of accidental immersion and five died in powered boat incidents.

Water Safety New Zealand CEO Matt Claridge says it’s an absolute tragedy that 35 families are mourning the loss of a family member this summer.

“I’ve said it before, one drowning is one too many. It’s hugely disappointing to be announcing a summer drowning toll that is up on last year’s.”

Rivers claimed the most lives this summer with ten deaths, while a further seven drownings occurred offshore. Beaches and inland still waters were the locations for a further five deaths each.

The Bay of Plenty had the greatest number of drownings at eight – double its five-year summer period average of four. Canterbury was the only region where no one drowned this summer.

Mr Claridge says what makes this summer’s toll even worse is that two of the deaths were children under five.

“Pre-schoolers are our most vulnerable when it comes to water safety and no children under five should be drowning in this country.”

Mr Claridge says the under-fives are a big priority for the sector and Water Safety New Zealand will launch a new campaign targeting parents and caregivers of the under fives with the ‘within arm’s reach’ messaging at Easter.

So far this year there have been 25 drownings in New Zealand waters. At the same time last year the toll was at 31.

“A huge amount of work is being done across the sector to bring New Zealand’s drowning toll down, but to achieve this we need all New Zealanders to make safety a priority.”


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