February 25, 2020
Drowning rate spikes up
Getting a special kai isn’t worth your life.
That’s the response from Water Safety New Zealand to a spike in underwater, rock fishing and boating incidents that have to drive New Zealand’s provisional preventable drowning toll back up.
There were provisionally 78 preventable drowning fatalities in 2019 which is an increase of 12, or 18 per cent, compared to the 66 preventable drowning fatalities in 2018.
Chief executive, Jonty Mills says the toll reflects the complex nature of drowning in this country, representing a wide range of age, ethnicities, activities and water environments.
The number of land-based fishing and underwater diving fatalities doubled, and there was also a spike in powered boat deaths.
He says while there is a recreation and cultural aspect to gathering kaimoana, there can also be pressure to put food on the table, resulting in unnecessary risk taking.
Best practice means rock fishers, net fishers and shell fishers wearing lifejackets and always taking a buddy.
It’s also important to properly assess the conditions and be aware of the dangers and to have some form of waterproof communication with you so you can call for help if something goes wrong.
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