Water Safety New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and The Warehouse are working to address a lag in vital water safety skills in New Zealand primary school children.
Student achievement in Water Skills For Life is recorded in a national database and an analysis of the 1.7 million records has identified low levels of achievement across a number of floating and propulsion skills, including floating on your back for one minute and sculling for at least three minutes.
To rectify this crucial water safety deficit a combined effort is underway to get Water Skills for Life, the national standard for aquatic education for children in years 1 – 8 needs taught in every primary school across the country.
In 2017 The Warehouse became the sponsor of Water Skills for Life to support the work being done to lift the levels of aquatic education in New Zealand’s schools and turn around this country’s high drowning toll. The Warehouse also supports the initiative with in-store fundraising so more children will have access to these crucial water safety skills.
Last year accidental immersion incidents (where people ended up in the water when they had no intention of doing so) was the deadliest activity in terms of preventable fatal drownings. To survive an accidental fall into the water personal buoyancy and propulsion are essential to get out of trouble.
The latest data from WSNZ’s Drownbase shows in 2017 15 –
The Warehouse CEO Pejman Okhovat says it’s
WSNZ’s 2018 Attitudes & Behaviour survey revealed a third of people in New Zealand experienced a serious situation in the water, and continue to underestimate the danger posed by our waterways. Drowning is the leading cause of recreational death, the second highest cause of unintentional injury death for 1 –
Our drowning rate per capita is twice that of Australia and four times that of the UK. Water Safety New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and The Warehouse believe aquatic education through Water Skills for Life is the best way to turn around our drowning problem.
Swimming NZ CEO Steve Johns says the programme goes to the heart of drowning prevention. “It educates children on the assessment of risk, awareness of dangers and equips them with the skills and competencies to be able to act in potential drowning situations. These are the life skills New Zealanders need to stay safe in, on and around water.”
The programme was developed off the back of international research, best practice and water safety sector
The Warehouse has recognised this is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently and through its support and investment
*Preventable drowning fatalities are those where water safety sector intervention could have had an influence (for example where the victim was boating, swimming, diving) while non-preventable include events such as suicides, homicides and vehicle accidents (where water safety education and activity would not have prevented the death).
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.