New system could prevent NZ pool drownings

  • 09/08/2017
The drowning detection system alerts lifeguards when there is a lack of motion on the bottom of the pool for 10 seconds.
The drowning detection system alerts lifeguards when there is a lack of motion on the bottom of the pool for 10 seconds. Photo credit: Getty, file

Lifeguards, parents and swimmers don't seem to be enough to stop drownings in New Zealand pools and another level of surveillance is now being pushed.

International Federation of Swimming Teachers' Association President, David Speechley, says a new drowning detection system must be put in all public pools to stop drownings.

Mr Speechley is speaking on the issue at the New Zealand Water Safety Council national conference in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Mr Speechley says that a lifeguard can be in the job for years and not have to respond, then all of a sudden there's an emergency, but they are unfortunately used to a false sense of security in the job.

"It can be an issue with the water too, there are shadows, reflection and ripples and someone can be at the bottom of the pool but you can't see them," he said.

The drowning detection system alerts lifeguards when there is a lack of motion on the bottom of the pool for 10 seconds.

Europe, Australia and Japan have jumped on board, with several pools implementing the system.

"They system in Europe has seen 33 incidents where lives have been saved, and it's not replacing lifeguards, it's simply adding another layer of surveillance," Mr Speechley said.

According to Mr Speechley there are currently no drowning detection systems in public pools in New Zealand.

NZN