A $63 million funding boost over four years for water safety initiatives from Budget 2020 has helped secure the operational services Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand deliver to the New Zealand public to keep people safe in, on and around the water this summer.
“Keeping all New Zealanders and visitors safe in, on and around the water is an essential service and a public expectation. The water safety sector is run almost entirely by passionate Kiwi volunteers and this funding will ensure Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand have the necessary equipment, facilities, and maintenance, as well as addressing the key challenges of service delivery, recruitment and retention of volunteers,” says Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Priyanca Radhakrishnan.
“It also enables Water Safety New Zealand as the umbrella leadership organisation for the sector to build capability within the organisation to support and lead the sector into the future.”
Water Safety New Zealand’s summer water safety campaigns and interventions will continue to focus on the ongoing implementation of Water Skills for Life for young people, Māori drowning prevention, water safety programmes for new migrants, regional water safety strategies in Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty and high-risk activities and target Groups. They will also continue their popular Swim Reaper water safety campaign this year, targeting young males who traditionally have made up one-third of our annual drowning fatalities.
“With the unavailability of international travel, New Zealand beaches will be a popular holiday destination for Kiwis this year. We want people to make the most of our beautiful beaches, rivers, lakes and pools, but they need to be aware of the risks.
“The demand for water safety services has been growing with patrol hours extended and more calls for help to coastguard services. We want to make sure our frontline agencies can focus their energy and skills on reducing the drowning toll and keeping New Zealanders safe in the water this summer.”
Remember the key messages when you are in or around the water over summer:
- Always swim between the flags
- If in doubt stay out
- Look before you leap
- Check the marine forecast before boating and always wear your life jacket.
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