Mid-Year Drowning Toll Down But Still High

Press Release – Water Safety New Zealand

Forty people have drowned during the first six months of 2013 (to 30 June), down from 55 at the same time last year but still shockingly high.Mid-Year Drowning Toll Down But Still High

Forty people have drowned during the first six months of 2013 (to 30 June), down from 55 at the same time last year but still shockingly high.

And one region has already surpassed its 2012 total drowning toll.

Three people have drowned in Otago so far this year, which is one death more than the region’s total number of drownings last year. Northland – at five deaths – is just one death short of its 2012 drowning toll of six people.

Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge says while it’s always positive to see a reduction in the number of drownings, there will be no celebration until the drowning toll is zero.

“Forty people is 40 too many and with six months of the year still to go, New Zealanders need to step up and make water safety a personal priority”, he says.

“We’re working across the country on a huge range of education and learn to swim initiatives – such as ActivePost’s Kia Maanu, Kia Ora Maori water safety education campaign and Sealord Swim for Life – but all New Zealanders need to take responsibility for their own safety around water.”

“Know your limits, watch the conditions, wear a life jacket, don’t drink alcohol when out on the water and keep kids within arm’s reach. I’ll be repeating these same safety messages until the drowning toll is zero.”

Matt Claridge says it’s particularly saddening that four children – two of whom were pre-schoolers – have drowned so far this year.

“Children should not be drowning, these deaths are usually preventable. Children – and pre-schoolers in particular – should be within site and arm’s reach of an adult at all times when around the water.”

Predictably the majority – just over 72% – of this year’s drownings were men. And 14 – or 35% – of drownings occurred at beaches, with rivers and tidal waters the second biggest killer at nine and eight deaths respectively. The bulk of the deaths, 16, occurred while the victims were swimming.

Taranaki and Canterbury were the only two regions where there have been no drownings.

Ninety-eight people drowned in New Zealand in 2012. This is up from the previously reported 93, following the completion of reports by the coroner.

Auckland 26 13
Bay Of Plenty 7 4
Canterbury 7
Hawke’s Bay 2
Manawatu – Wanganui 7 1
Marlborough 1
Northland 6 5
Otago 2 3
Southland 13 2
Taranaki 5
Waikato 12 4
Wellington 9 3
West Coast 4 2
Total 98 40


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