Summer is supposed to be a festive and fun family time but a a fatal drowning can devastate a family forever. Drownings peak over the summer holiday period so it is a time to be extra vigilant around water and to make sure you educate your self about water safety. One preventable drowning is one too many and can devastate families, friends and whole communities.
Drownings can occur when you least expect it. And it's not like driving where there are a whole lot of idiots on the road you have to try and avoid. Generally it's yourself you have to look out for. Because you've taken your eye off the ball and made a bad decision in the water. Accidents do happen but the evidence suggests that 80 percent of drownings could have been avoided had precautions been taken. The old adage: stop, look and think was never more true when it comes to water.
Age is no defense. The swim reaper can strike at any age but close to a third of drownings are young people 15 - 34 years old and 50 percent of all drownings are under 44 years.
Females have a more charmed life (or take less risks and more precautions) with 85 percent of all drownings males.
Water Safety New Zealand's Drowning Statistics aren't pretty reading. There were 81 preventable drowning deaths in 2016. This is the same number as the 2011 - 2015 average.
"We've got to change the way people think about recreating around water" says Jonty Mills, Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive. "What should be a fun, enjoyable experience, for some is an accident waiting to happen."
Water Safety New Zealand's safety messages remain the same this summer; be prepared, watch out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits.
The Swim Reaper stands as a timely reminder to everyone that, while it’s great to enjoy our beautiful swimming spots, making bad choices around water can have deadly consequences.
Swim Dumb and You're Done