New Zealand is still in the unenviable position of having one of the higher drowning rates (*2.0) per capita in the OECD, approximately twice that of Australia. On this page we touch on some key statistics for New Zealand as a whole, with more specific regional data the Auckland Region. This data is sourced from DrownBase, managed by Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) and is provisional, due to availability of police / coroner’s reports.
2017 – Year to date 21 July 2017
Water Safety New Zealand reports 47 drowning deaths in New Zealand (same time last year = 51), of which 38 (81%) were considered preventable*, comprising:
- Age: Under fives (10%), 05-14 yrs (NIL), 15-24 yr s (18%), 25 yrs + (71%).
- Gender: Males (84%)
- Ethnicity: NZ European (58%), Maori (13%), Pacific (8%), Asian (16%)
- Activity: Accidental immersion* (29%), swimming (21%)
- Environment: Rivers/tidal waters (29%), offshore (16%), beaches (24%), home pools (13%)
- Region: Auckland has experienced 9 preventable drownings year to date, 3 more than the same time last year (STLY).
Of note is that there were NIL drownings in the 05-14 yr age group (down 2), the domestic environment or diving/jumping activities (down 3).
*Preventable drownings include recreational and non-recreational deaths, considered applicable to the prevention and rescue efforts of the water safety sector.
WSNZ reports that 108 lives were lost as a result of drowning in 2016, 5 less than in 2015 (113).
- 81 (75%) of these were considered preventable.
- Of these, 3 were under fives, 3 aged 05-14 years, the balance evenly spread from 15 to 65+ years.
- Gender: Males 85%
- Ethnicity: Maori 21%, NZ European 41%, Pacific 16%
- Environment: Rivers / beaches / tidal waters 76%
- Activity (recreational): Swimming 27%, powered boat 17%
- Activity (non-recreational): Immersion 28% (where victim did not intend to be in the water).
- Auckland: 17 preventable drowning deaths; drowning rate of 0.8 per capita*, less than half the NZ per capita rate of 1.9 for the year.
*Per capita = per 100,000 people
Drowning statistics from DrownBase, the official drowning database of Water Safety New Zealand. Further information is available from their website.