Most people in trouble in the water don’t drown, but some rescuers do. From 1980 to 2016, 93 people drowning in New Zealand while attempting to rescue others, 51 of those at beaches. In most cases the original victim survived and those who drowned were family members. To prevent you from becoming a rescuer who drowns, here are some simple rules to keep you safe.

Is someone in trouble in the water? Do the 4Rs.


  • Notice someone in trouble.
  • Check for danger.
  • Act quickly.


  • Provide flotation.
  • Send for help (Call 111 – Police)
  • Reassess safety of people and scene.


  • Think safe.
  • Rescue from land or craft is safest.
  • Rescue in water – non-contact is safest.
  • Take flotation if entering the water.


  • Provide care.
  • If person is not breathing normally, start CPR.
  • If breathing, put in recovery position.
  • Stay with person until help arrives.

WAI 4Rs flyer _Aug15 FINAL to download a copy of the flyer for yourself and watch the video.