Water Skills for Life Keeping Kids Safe In the Water


Water Safety New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand and The Warehouse are working to address a lag in vital water safety skills as national records show water skills are falling among many primary-school aged children.

In 2017, The Warehouse became the sponsor of the Water Skills for Life programme to help lift the levels of aquatic education in New Zealand’s schools and turn around our high drowning toll. The Warehouse supports the initiative with in-store fundraising so more children have access to these crucial water safety skills. Customers can support the campaign with a $2 donation at the checkout or self-service counter.

Water Safety New Zealand’s survey's revealed a third of Kiwis had 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 to 24-year-olds, and the third highest cause of accidental death.

“This is our second year of sponsorship and we are delighted that in 2018 more than 200,000 kids received free water safety education lessons thanks to The Warehouse and other supporters,” says Warehouse CEO Pejman Okhovat. “Encouragingly, drowning statistics have started to trend downwards, however any death is a tragedy, and we want to ensure Water Skills for Life is available in every community for all children.”

Water Skills for Life is all about kids having fun while they learn water safety. It is made up of 27 core water safety skills and establishes broad fundamental competencies for life-long water safety, and more than a quarter of all primary schools across the country are now incorporating Water Skills for Life into their health and recreation programme.

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 water, or a situation when you’re in trouble, staying calm, floating and being able to move through the water are essential to help you survive.

Water Safety New Zealand’s 2018 Attitudes & Behaviour survey revealed a third of Kiwis had 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 to 24-year-olds and the third highest cause of accidental death.

Drownings have plateaued over the past ten years, and in 2018 there was a slight drop in fatalities to 68 (pending coronial reports), down from 92 in 2017.

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.


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