25 Jan 2020

Swimmers told to take care during Auckland Anniversary weekend

1:10 pm on 25 January 2020

With temperatures expected to soar in some parts of the country, people are being urged to take care if they're heading to beaches, lakes and rivers.

Surf lifesaving flags out at the beach.

Over the last five Auckland Anniversary weekends, there have been six preventable drowning deaths Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Over the last five Auckland Anniversary weekends, there have been six preventable drowning deaths Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, Water Safety said.

Chief executive Jonty Mills said those deaths happened while people were swimming, jumping into water, shell fishing and freediving.

He said all aquatic activities come with risk, so everyone needs to think about water safety.

"People do need to take some personal responsibility, the rescue services - the likes of Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, Coastguard - they do a fantastic job, they're made up of volunteers, but they can't be at every beach and every waterway across the country 24 hours a day."

There have been eight preventable drowning deaths so far this year, across a diverse ranges of activities and environments, Mills said.

If people are at the beach, they should always swim between the flags.

Mills said it was essential people checked the local conditions before heading onto, or into, the water.