A total of three people have drowned in New Zealand waters over the holiday period.
The figures have been released from Water Safety New Zealand for the official holiday period (running from 4pm 22nd December 2017 to 6am 3rd January 2018).
"This is five less than last years’ toll for the same period and whilst encouraging, one preventable drowning is one too many and a tragedy for all families and communities involved," says WSNZ Chief Executive, Jonty Mills.
Mills says this years’ number is encouraging in that the sector was bracing for a busy season due to the early onset of summer and warmer weather, together with the broad nature of the drowning problem in New Zealand. "We have very high participation rates across a wide range of water based activities, be it at the beach, rivers, lakes or pools."
Of the three preventable drowning fatalities recorded one occurred in the North Island, and two in the South Island. One 24-year-old female and two males aged 54 and 68.
Jonty Mills says on a positive note young kiwi males who historically make up around a third of the annual preventable fatal drowning toll do not feature in the holiday period fatalities.
"We are specifically targeting this group with our digital summer campaign, The Swim Reaper. There were zero drownings of males aged 15 - 30 over the official holiday period," says Mills.
Jonty Mills says it’s also pleasing no under-fives lost their lives. “2017 has been a tragic one for under-fives with seven preventable fatalities. Hopefully this means the constant supervision message is getting through.”
"The summer holidays go on for a couple more months yet and we know Kiwis will continue to enjoy our beautiful waterways as the warm weather goes on. We need all Kiwis need to take responsibility and think about water safety," says Mills.
“Remember the water safety code. Be prepared, watch out for yourself and each other, be aware of the dangers and know your limits.”
The average toll during this period for the last five years is seven preventable drowning fatalities.
The lowest number for the official holiday period in recent times was two back in 2006 and the highest was eleven in 2008.
WSNZ will release the provisional drowning toll for 2017 (national and regional) on Monday 15 January.
For safety tips and other information visit www.watersafety.org.nz