Drowning is the number one cause of recreational death and the second highest cause of death as result of unintentional injury among young people aged 1-24 years. In 2019 the 10-14-year old age group had the highest number of ACC claims for water related injuries and there were almost 6,000 water related injury claims for children aged 0-14 years, (ACC, 2020).
With this in mind, the focus of interventions in order to achieve the end outcome of culture change for this age group is delivery of the Water Skills for Life (WSFL) programme. This programme helps establish broad, fundamental competencies for life-long water safety.
Protect Our Future
Only 27% of New Zealand schools provide a minimum acceptable combination of eight or more water-based lessons of 26–30 minutes’ duration per year. The minimum should in fact be 10 lessons of at least 30 minutes.
Faced with the reality that more children are leaving school without the necessary water safety skills, should we accept that more children will drown, or address the issue, starting in schools?
Traditionally, children may learn-to-swim, although even this skill is in decline. The assumption is that swimming skills are also survival skills, however this is far from true.
Water Skills for Life is made up of seven competency areas that contains 27 core skills, establishing broad fundamental competencies for life-long water safety.
Knowledge Is Power
Our programme gives children the skills and knowledge they need to assess risks and make smart decisions around water so they can stay out of trouble and survive should they get into trouble.
Children are taught Water Skills for Life at their school, either by their schoolteacher or swim teacher at a community pool.
The Water Skills for Life programme helps build the capabilities of the swim teachers and schools to help them deliver water skills learning experiences for students across a broad and diverse range of abilities, ages, and cultures.
Water Skills For Life partners with Swimming New Zealand and other providers, to deliver the programme, with funding support from Water Safety NZ, Sport New Zealand, the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and ACC.
We're here to protect Aotearoa's future. Establishing broad, fundamental competencies for life-long water safety.
Water Skills for Life is the national standard for aquatic education in New Zealand primary schools. It is linked into the national education curriculum and gives children the skills and knowledge they need to assess risks and make smart decisions around water.