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Labour Weekend Starts Drowning Season

23 October 2003 Media Release For immediate release

Labour Weekend Starts Drowning Season

Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) today announced the start of the drowning season that will see too many New Zealanders die between Labour Weekend and Waitangi Day.

Executive Director of Water Safety New Zealand, Alan Muir said that despite a record low drowning toll so far this year the biggest area of concern throughout 2003 has been in recreational drowning.

“Boating, swimming, fishing and underwater activities have all been significant contributors to the drowning toll this year, and traditionally that trend shows an increase from Labour Weekend onwards. In fact on average 40% of all drownings occur during this three and a half month period”.

Boaties need to be aware that the Maritime Safety Authority and Local Authorities via Harbour Masters will be monitoring compliance with new requirements that all recreational boaties carry a lifejacket for each person on board, and comply with other maritime regulations. Individuals can now be fined or prosecuted for breaking maritime rules or by-laws.

Equally, there are new requirements in public pools for the supervision of young children. These requirements will be vigorously enforced by lifeguards and caregivers will need to provide primary supervision responsibilities for young children. “It doesn’t matter what activities are planned for Labour Weekend and beyond, ensure the planning includes safety aspects to get you, your family and your friends home alive” said Mr Muir.

...Ends...

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