Youth recreational drowning and rescue

  • Between 1980 and 1994, a total of 544 New Zealand youth and young adults in the 15-24 age group died in unintentional drowning incidents
  • In the decade from 1992-2001, approximately one half of the New Zealand youth drowning fatalities occurred during recreational activity (Water Safety New Zealand DrownBase, 2004)
  • In the five years between 1995-2000, 2,363 young people between 10-19 years of age were rescued from the surf, the largest group of victims by age

New Zealand Youth Aquatic Recreation (New Zealand Water Safety Survey 2003)

The subjects of this study were part of a nationwide sample of 2,202 youth, 4% of a target population of approximately 50,000 Year 11 students. A written questionnaire on aquatic recreational activities, water safety knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, completed under the direction of trained survey administrators, was used to gather data during the school timetable in 41 high schools throughout New Zealand in the second school term, 2003. Student responses were analysed by gender, socio-economic status via the decile rating of the school attended and ethnicity. To view the full Survey, click on the link under Youth Resources at right.

New Zealand Youth Aquatic Recreation Fact Sheets

PDF copies of the following Fact Sheets can be downloaded from the Youth Resources panel at right.

  • Fact Sheet 1 – What youth do during aquatic activity…to determine the nature of youth aquatic recreation and its associated drowning risk
  • Fact Sheet 2 – What youth know about water safety…to examine the pratical and theoretical knowledge base of New Zealand youth and identify gaps in youth understanding of water safety
  • Fact Sheet 3 – Gender differences in water safety…to ascertain differences in male and female water safety behaviours and beliefs related to swimming and other aquatic recreation, as well as report on gender differences of the observed risky behaviours of their friends.
  • Fact Sheet 4 – Taking the plunge: what youth think and do around diving into water…to examine the attitudes of New Zealand youth towards recreational diving, determine the extent of dangerous diving practice and ascertain whether some young people are at greater risk of SCI (spinal cord injury) than others
  • Fact Sheet 5 – Parents, Pals, or Pedagogues? How youth learn about water safety …to examine the social construction of youth water safety education and ascertain how youth perceive the relevance of school-based water safety education programmmes