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As the lead agency in the water safety sector Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) is tasked with delivering funding strategies to tackle our nations drowning problem. New Zealand is towards the upper end of drowning death rates in the OECD. In 2016 there were 78 preventable fatalities and drowning hospitalisations are on the rise.

In its 2017/18 Drowning Prevention Investment Round WSNZ is funding organisations working with the vulnerable and at risk to deliver much needed water safety education and support.

Funded primarily by the New Zealand Lotteries Grant Board administered through Sport New Zealand, and supported by ACC, $1,664,260 was available for distribution by WSNZ this year - $129,260 more than 2016-17 – a 8.4% increase primarily due to a $400,000 increase in NZLGB funding.

“The water safety sector is predominantly non-Government funded and supported by volunteers. Any additional funding is a lifeline providing vital education to the most vulnerable.” says WSNZ CEO Jonty Mills.

Funding is distributed to professional and national sport and recreation organisations, swim schools, local authorities, regional sports trusts, Plunket and Trusts which administer water safety education initiatives.

Specifically, $1.189m will be allocated to providers to deliver the national aquatic initiative Water Skills For Life (WSFL) to children aged 5 – 13 years across the country.

With a reduction in the level of water safety education in schools, WSFL makes more effective use of the time students spend in the pool. Based on core water safety competencies, WSFLprovides foundational water safety knowledge and the ability to assess risk.

“The social and economic cost of drowning far outweighs funding to the water safety sector and strategic and innovative initiatives are required to bring down our high drowning toll” says Mills.

The launch in 2015 of the Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020, by then Sport and Recreation Minister The Hon Jonathan Coleman, was a significant milestone and an attempt to create a step-change in Kiwi attitudes and behaviour around water.

The strategy sets bold targets for a reduction in drownings, particularly those involving males who make up 86% of all fatalities.

While the sector is more aligned and efficient the number of preventable drowning fatalities has plateaued while the number of drowning related hospitalisations is increasing.

Mills says this reflects the complex nature of the drowning problem. “We have a diverse and growing population, an expansive network of unpatrolled waterways, beaches, lakes and rivers and a broad range of water based activities.”

“With the changing nature of the drowning problem in New Zealand and increasing pressure on the sector to meet growing expectations, it’s imperative that water safety skills training becomes an integral part of the education process for all New Zealand children” says Mills.

To view the full list of funding recipients visit http://www.watersafety.org.nz/our-sector/funding-and-partnerships/grant-recipients/

 

Water Skills For Life was developed for children in Years 1 - 8 to learn water safety. Based on 27 core skills, it establishes broad fundamental competencies for life-long water safety.

Children are taught Water Skills for Life at school, either by their school teacher in the school pool or community or by a swim teacher at a community pool. Schools can decide how they teach their students Water Skills For Life.

 

Click here for the directory to contact a Water Skills for Life instructor.
Click here for School Resources and Database User Guide

 

 

Water Safety NZ invests $1.66m into water safety education

 
 
 

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Children learn these skills with Water Skills For Life

Click on each link to read about what's involved with each activity.

Water safety and awareness skills
  • Recognise an emergency for yourself or others. Know who to call for help and how
  • Know, understand and respect water safety rules, hazards and risks around the home, farm and around pools
  • Know, understand and respect water safety rules, hazards and risk in natural environments such as at the beach, offshore, river or lake.
  • Know, understand and respect water safety rules, hazards and risks for water activities such as swimming, water sports and boating
  • Know how and why t make safe decisions for yourself and others
  • Know how to recognise hypothermia and how to treat it
Getting in and out of the water
  • Get in and out of the water safely in any environment.
  • Perform this sequence with a buddy watching: check the depth of the water, check that the area is safe, jump into deep water, float on back for 1 minute to control breathing, return to edge and exit
Going under the water - Submersion
  • Get under water, open eyes and control breathing
  • Pick up an object from under the water
  • Dive from a horizontal position in the water and move underwater for a slow count to five
Floating on the water - Personal Buoyancy
  • Float, then regain feet
  • Control breathing while floating on back for at least 1 minute
  • Scull head-first and/or scull feet first for at least 3 minutes
  • Tread water for at least 3 minutes in deep water
  • Perform this sequence in deep water: correctly fit a lifejacket then tread water, scull, float or a mixture for 3 minutes while controlling breathing. Then return to edge and get out of the water
  • Perform this sequence for five minutes: signal for help while treading water, sculling, floating, or a mixture, and while controlling breathing
Rolling and turning in the water - Orientation
  • Horizontal rotation (front to back and back to front)
  • Horizontal to vertical rotation and vice versa (front or back to upright and return)
  • Vertical rotation (half rotation and full rotation) around the body’s vertical axis
What to do in an emergency - Safety of self and others
  • Float and signal for help with and without a flotation aid
  • Do a reach rescue and a throw rescue with a buddy
  • Perform this sequence: correctly fit a lifejacket, do a step entry into deep water, float in the H.E.L.P. position, then with a couple of buddies or a group form a huddle, return to edge and get out
Moving through the water - Propulsion
  • Move 15m non-stop, using any form of propulsion
  • Move through the water environments of all kinds (currents, waves, depth – in situ or simulated)
  • Move 50m and/or 3 minutes non-stop, confidently and competently – using any form of propulsion on their side, front, back, or a mixture
  • Move 100m and/or 5 minutes non-stop, confidently and competently – using any form of propulsion on their side, front, back, or a mixture

 

 

Click here for the directory to contact a Water Skills for Life instructor.

 
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