It is not just about swimming lessons, prompts WaterSafe Auckland in response to Labour’s call this week for greater access to swimming education for all Kiwi kids in an effort to curb New Zealand’s drowning toll.

While we support Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkin’s efforts, in our professional experience very few drownings involve non-swimmers, says Chief Executive Jonathon Webber.

“There are additional skills and knowledge required to keep people safe in the water – the decisions you make, knowing what to do in an emergency, how to react when another person gets in to difficulty, and applying these in a variety of aquatic environments,” he says.

For males, who account for 85 percent of all drownings on average, being able to correctly assessing the risk and their own ability is an essential piece of the puzzle.

“We would all agree that drowning is a significant and complex problem, to which there is no single solution,” says Mr Webber.

An aquatic education programme that includes learn to swim, but also develops water safety skills and aquatic knowledge, skills and behaviours is the answer in creating the long term change we want to see in our drowning toll, he says.

This approach equips Kiwi kids with the knowledge and skills they require to keep themselves and others safer in, on and around water as the youth and adults of the future.


For further information and interviews:

Jonathon Webber

Chief Executive, WaterSafe Auckland

Ph: 021 555 382