Porirua students learn about water safety
More than 300 students from the Porirua basin learnt how to be safe on the water in a recent course run by Wellington Ocean Sports.
The programme received $20,000 in funding from Trust House, which was formerly Mana Community Grants Foundation.
Wellington Ocean Sports offer a comprehensive schools safe boating programme that includes various Coastguard Boating Education and Yachting New Zealand NCEA accredited courses.
Ocean Sports manager Matt Wood said the course had proved to be a huge success, unashamedly targeting lower socio-economic students.
Schools taking part included Porirua College, Russell School, Tawa College, Bishop Viard College and Mana College.
Wood said it was the New Zealand way to want to get out on the water and give things a go, but the problem was that once out on the sea, things could go wrong, with dire consequences.
‘‘We gave heaps of kids an experience of being on the water, learning about how to be safe out there,’’ he said.
‘‘Learning to swim and surf lifesaving are brilliant and deserve to be funded, but boating also needs to be a part of water safety.
‘‘Boating is accessible and easy to be involved in, so education is very important.’’
Wood said Ocean Sports would reapply for funding to run the course again as soon as possible.
Earning NCEA credits was proving a carrot to take part, he said.
Each safe boating session lasts about two hours.
Felicia Petaia and Te Whero Werahiko improve their ocean safety skills.