Strategic Plan 2016-2019

GOAL 1 – Leadership: to provide effective drowning prevention leadership


  1. To provide accountable and responsive leadership to the Auckland region in water safety
    education and drowning prevention
  2. To engage with members and water safety sector partners to collaborate on regional and
    national drowning prevention strategies
  3. To respect and develop the special relationship with Maori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi

GOAL 2 – Research: to provide leading-edge knowledge to inform evidenced based practice


  1. To develop a knowledge base through research that informs best practice
  2. To collect and disseminate relevant research and information on drowning prevention and water
    safety education
  3. To maintain a research presence both nationally and internationally

GOAL 3 – Education: to enable best practice water safety education


  1. To be a lead agency in providing water safety education in the Auckland region
  2. To provide excellence in professional development and learning that meets relevant standards
    across the formal education, workplace and community sectors
  3. To adopt continuous improvement of practice through research-informed evaluations

GOAL 4 – Advocacy: to champion water safety education and drowning prevention


  1. To raise the profile of WaterSafe Auckland through water safety awareness
  2. To advocate for, and contribute to wider sector promotion of water safety education and
    drowning prevention measures
  3. To advocate on legislative/policy issues that impact on water safety education and drowning

GOAL 5 – Sustainability: to be a future-proofed organisation for 2025

  1. To ensure comprehensive financial and service delivery targets are developed and monitored
  2. To maintain existing funding sources
  3. To increase revenue producing work streams
  4. To develop comprehensive revenue and business plans that are aligned with our strategic goals
New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020

In 2015 New Zealand’s water safety sector embarked on an ambitious plan to achieve significant impact on New Zealand’s high drowning toll with the vision of no one drowning. The New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020 sets out the sector’s plan to collectively work together over the coming years (2015-2020) to meet a number of significant goals and create a culture where all New Zealanders will enjoy the water safely.

The goals include:

  • Preventable* drowning deaths reduced from 77 to 50 or less (-35%).
  • Drowning hospitalisations reduced from 172 to 100 or less (-42%).
  • Male drowning deaths halved from 66 to 33 or less.
  • Preschool drowning deaths reduced from six to zero.

* Preventable drownings are defined as all drowning deaths other than those that result from suicides, homicides and vehicle accidents. Statistics are expressed as a five-year average.

WaterSafe Auckland is proud to be one of many water safety organisations that have committed to achieving these goals, including: WaterSafety New Zealand, ACC, Coastguard New Zealand, Coastguard Boating Education, Maritime New Zealand, New Zealand Recreation Association, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand.

For further information on the Strategy visit

Community Safety Strategy

Globally, drowning is a major cause of unintentional injury death for all ages. In New Zealand it’s the second highest cause for the 0-25yr age group, third highest cause across the population.

In response to alarming statistics such as these, an international task force on open water drowning prevention established theInternational Open Water Safety Guidelines for families and individuals recreating at any open water site.

Whilst any of these actions may increase your level of safety, using a combination / or all of them will offer the most protection.

Keep Yourself Safe

  • Learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Always swim with others
  • Obey all safety signs and warning flags
  • Never go in the water after drinking alcohol
  • Know how and when to use a lifejacket
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Know the water and weather conditions before getting in the water
  • Always enter shallow and unknown water feet first

Keep Others Safe

  • Help and encourage others, especially children, to learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Set water safety rules
  • Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water
  • Know how and when to use life jackets, especially with children and weak swimmers
  • Learn first aid and CPR
  • Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger
  • Obey all safety signs and warning signs

These guidelines also informed the development of the New Zealand Safety Codes, for outdoor, boating and water safety. You can find out more about these on the Safety Codes page.

For further information on the Task Force and Guidelines visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital


Samantha Gunther