BE WATER SAFE
Nothing beats cooling off with a swim in the ocean, lake, river or pool when the weather is hot. But it is absolutely crucial for you and your loved ones to do whatever you can to be safe in the water.
Drowning is the third-highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand after motor accidents and falls, and last year 105 people lost their lives in the water. What’s really tragic is that, according to Water Safety New Zealand, most drownings and injuries are preventable.
The most common cause of drownings in this country last year was immersion incidents, in which victims ended up in the water accidentally, followed by incidents while swimming. Here are some ways to cut the risk of drowning:
• If you can’t swim, learn – and get lessons for family members who can’t swim either.
• Never underestimate the water. Know your limits and don’t take risks, such as swimming a long way out from the shore or in rough conditions. At beaches with lifeguards, always swim between the flags and learn to recognise rips.
• Always be attentive in the water. Notice if you’re drifting further out to sea or along the beach, or if sea or weather conditions have changed.
• Never swim after drinking alcohol, using drugs or being incapacitated in any other way.
• Take heed of signs at beaches and other waterways about dangerous conditions and hazards. They are there for a reason.
• Always wear a life jacket in a boat. Always.