Water safety plea for Auckland

Tuesday 7 February 2012, 2:05PM
By WaterSafe Auckland

Continue to be prepared with knowledge of local conditions and dangers, take appropriate safety precautions, know your limits, wear your lifejacket and above all, keep young children within sight and reach.

That’s the plea from WaterSafe Auckland (WAI) on the back of another long weekend of Aucklanders hitting the water and reports that the region has experienced the highest drowning toll (2011) since 2002 .

“While any drowning is of concern,” says WAI Business Manager Teresa Stanley, “we must be careful not to act hastily or sensationalise statistics until more specific detail is available, she says, such as whether the increase is from recreational activity, non-recreational or other (such as medical conditions, car accidents or suicides).”

“Interestingly, we note in the 2011 Drowning Report that (with a per capita drowning rate of 2.0) Auckland sits below the national rate (2.9) ranking 12th lowest of the 15 regions,” says Teresa. “A positive, considering the region hosts about one third of the national population surrounded by an accessible aquatic environment. Only Canterbury has a similar rate to Auckland and clearly it has a different population, climate and environment.”

Until such time as we have the information about how this increase has come about all we can do is continue with our regional collaborative initiatives targeting identified at risk groups and activities, such as the West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project (in place since 2005) and the Pacific Fishing Safety Project born in response to the tragic loss of five Pacific fishers in October.

Whether heading to the beach, out in the boat, or making good use of the backyard pool, WAI urges everyone to use a little common sense and heed the simple rules that can help keep themselves and others safer around water. “We’ve had a good start to the year to date across Auckland and with the summer not yet over we would like to see that continue,” says Teresa.


For more information / interviews contact:
Teresa Stanley
Business Manager, WaterSafe Auckland Inc.
Ph 027 285 9045 


WaterSafe Auckland is the acknowledged lead agency for water safety coordination and education in the Auckland region. As one of the four service delivery amenities under the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Act 2008, WaterSafe Auckland is mandated by the ratepayers of Auckland to deliver water safety education to meet the needs of those living in and visiting the region. 

  1. 2011 Drowning Report. Water Safety New Zealand. 
  2. West Coast Rock Fishing Safety Project. Ongoing partnership between Auckland Council, WaterSafe Auckland, Surf Life Saving Northern Region and Safe Waitakere. Since 2005 has seen a noticeable change in behaviour, particularly around the wearing of lifejackets. The number of fishers wearing lifejackets or buoyancy aids now up to 51% (4% in 2006). 
  3. Basic water safety rules based on the NZ Water Safety and Boating Safety Codes


  • Be prepared - Learn to swim and survive and set rules for safe play in the water. Always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.
  • Be aware of the dangers - Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags. Do not enter the water after drinking alcohol. Learn to recognise rip currents and never swim when tired or cold. If in doubt, stay out.
  • Watch out for yourself and others - Always pay close attention to children you are supervising, in or near water. Keep young children within sight and reach, without distraction. Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present, between the flags. Listen to the advice of lifeguards.
  • Know your limits - Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.
  • Lifejackets – Take them, wear them. It will increase your survival time.
  • Skipper responsibility – Keep everyone safe, stay within the limits of your vessel and your experience.
  • Communications – Take at least two separate waterproof ways of communicating. Make yourself visible. If you can contact them and they can see you, they can rescue you.
  • Marine weather – Check the marine forecast first. If in doubt, don’t go out.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol and water don’t mix. Stay alert and aware.