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:
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. www.watersafe.org.nz