The Swim Reaper campaign

Who is the Swim Reaper?

Water can turn deadly when people make bad calls in the water – The Swim Reaper is a reminder of this – danger lurks everywhere. He’s a character you definitely don’t want to meet and this campaign aims to make young people stop and think before they make bad decisions with potentially deadly consequences.

Most drownings are preventable if people think about water safety first. New Zealand averages around 80 preventable drowning deaths a year. The Swim Reaper campaign is designed to try and bring that number down by targeting an at risk group in an arresting and hard hitting way.


Where is the Swim Reaper?

The Swim Reaper is lurking at known high risk beaches, lakes, rivers and waterways in New Zealand, looking out for young people making bad decisions. Young people are specifically reached via geotargeted messages on Instagram, Facebook and Snap Chat.

The Swim Reaper will not be between the flags or at safe family swimming spots. 


Why is Water Safety New Zealand running the Swim Reaper campaign?

Last year, 33% of the preventable drowning deaths were young kiwi males between the ages of 15-34.

The Swim Reaper is designed to remind those at risk young males that while it’s great to enjoy our beautiful swimming spots, making bad choices around water can have potentially deadly consequences.


How many New Zealanders die each year from drowning?

An average of 105 people lose their lives to drowning each year – in 2016, 81 of these deaths were preventable. 



We don’t encourage bad behaviour and decisions around water

The Swim Reaper is a reminder to everyone that, while it’s great to enjoy our beautiful swimming spots, making bad choices around water can have very deadly consequences.


Who is behind this campaign?

Water Safety New Zealand and ACC. We are working together on this campaign to reduce the high number of Kiwis who lose their lives or are injured in the water each year.






For enquiries about this website and campaign, contact Sheridan Bruce on 021 1928 708 or email


Swim dumb and you're done!


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