11 drownings in February, 20 so far in 2010
Eleven people drowned in New Zealand last month, with 20 in the first two months of the year - a significant decrease over last year's figure of 32.
Of the 11 people who drowned last month, five died swimming, with two in rivers and three in the sea.
Water Safety New Zealand's general manager Matt Claridge said a number of recent incidents could have been avoided if the swimmers were realistic about their ability and where they chose to swim.
"Even strong swimmers need to take into account potential hazards when swimming in a particular area and make their decisions accordingly. Risk is compounded for those with little or no swimming ability - this group must seriously question the wisdom of their involvement with any water based activity," he said.
Though the numbers of fatalities were down on last year, the swimming skills of New Zealand children were getting worse, Mr Claridge said.
"The research is clear: it indicates New Zealand children's swimming skills are in a poor state. If this, coupled with the ongoing dismantling of learn to swim delivery through the school system continues, more incidents and deaths are inevitable."
source: newshub archive