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37 Drown In First Quarter

Nine people drowned in New Zealand during March taking the drowning total for the first three months of 2003 to 37.The most common cause of drowning so far in 2003 has been swimming related recreation with 9 fatalities in the first three months.

“It is expected that recreational drownings will be higher than non-recreational drownings at this time of the year but to have 25 is disappointing” said Alan Muir Executive Director of Water Safety New
Zealand.

Water Safety New Zealand has been providing water safety advice for over 50 years and still preventable drownings occur says Mr Muir.

“The real key to preventing drowning is education and a common sense approach to safety whenever in, on, or around the water. Annually more than
half of all drownings are non-recreational. This means that everyone in New Zealand is at risk of drowning every day regardless of whether there is an intention of being in the water or not”.

On average three people drown in New Zealand each and every week. The ability to swim is a core life skill that every New Zealander should have and is the number one educational initiative for Water Safety New Zealand.

A review of the first three months drowning statistics show:
- Nine swimming related drownings,
- Six underwater recreation,
- Five immersion accidents (where the victim had no intention of being in the water),
- Four recreational boating,
- Three drowned in road vehicle crashes,
- Three fishing related activities,
- Three sporting pursuit related drownings,
- Two people drowned while attempting to rescue others (who ended up surviving),
- One commercial fisherman, and
- One suicide.

Water Safety New Zealand
PO Box 10126 Wellington
Phone 04-801 9600. Fax 04-801 9599
Website www.watersafety.org.nz

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