Holiday period drowning toll to be kept

  • 25/12/2015

A toll on drowning deaths will be kept throughout the holiday period with water safety leaders urging New Zealanders to be smart around the country's water spots.

So far 93 people have drowned in 2015 - one more than last year's total - prompting Water Safety New Zealand to introduce a running toll of the number of drownings between Christmas Eve and January 5.

Ten people drowned during last year's holiday period.

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge says enough is enough when it comes to deaths around water spots.

"We're calling for all New Zealanders to stop and think about water safety this Christmas," he said.

"If we can just get everyone to do that, then I'll be announcing the first ever zero drowning toll on record for this period come 5 January."

Around 80 percent of drowning deaths in New Zealand are men, with most coming from boating accidents.

Surf Living Saving New Zealand will have more than 4000 lifeguards on duty throughout the festive season with thousands expected to flock to beaches to take advantage of the warm Christmas weather.

"We're an island nation and the beach is our natural playground, but stopping and thinking before you go into the water could save your life," Surf Life Saving New Zealand manager Allan Mundy said.

"Be prepared, watch out for yourself and others, be aware of the dangers and know your limits."