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Labour weekend will see many New Zealanders heading to the beach to take advantage of the long weekend swimming, fishing or out on the boat. Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) wishes everyone an enjoyable Labour Weekend and reminds people to keep themselves and their loved ones safe when enjoying the water.

WSNZ’s Chief Executive Daniel Gerrard says: “Enjoying the water is part of our way of life, but please do it safely as too many New Zealanders continue to lose their lives from drowning. Drowning is the leading cause of recreational death in New Zealand, and sadly, so far this year, there have been 42 preventable fatalities.

“We urge everyone to think about water safety this long weekend. We are all responsible for keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe when we’re in, on and around water.”

WSNZ says knowing the water safety code will help you keep safe:

  • Be prepared – Check the weather forecast, marine conditions; know the local environment, safe swimming spots; set rules for safe play; use safe and well-maintained equipment.

  • Look out for yourself and others. Always supervise children around water and keep children under five years within arm’s reach; never swim alone. Swim between the flags at the beach and make sure everyone on board the boat is wearing a well-fitted lifejacket.

  • Be aware of the dangers. The water will be cold. If it’s a surf beach, it’s a rip beach.

  • Know your limits. Challenge yourself within your abilities and skill level; know what you can and can’t do in the water

Wherever there is water, there are risks. If you are going away for the weekend, do some research about risks or ask locals, and if you’re at a holiday home with little ones, check for hazards. If there’s a pool, make sure the gates and fences are secure and work properly.

Daniel Gerrard says, “Sadly, far too many people lose their lives or are injured in, on or around the water. Each of those fatalities comes with a social and economic cost, as well as a life cut short – often a young life leaving families and communities devastated. The tragedy is that most drownings and injuries are preventable.

“Have a great Labour weekend, enjoy the water, but please stay safe.”

Enjoy the water this Labour weekend but do it safely

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