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Supporting Data

1. Under Fives

Causal factor:

Lack of (or minimal) active adult supervision.


The bathmat water safety campaign supported by Plunket was introduced in 2011. Drownings have reduced to an average of 3 annually in 2020.


2.    5 – 13 year olds

This is the lowest drowning cohort and the time when aquatic water safety education is established through Water Skills for Life and other aquatic programmes. 2019 data insights indicate the following achievements from a sample of up to 64,000 students.


3. Swimming

Most at risk:

• Males 15 – 34 years.

• Māori, Pacific Peoples and Asians over-represented.


The Swim Reaper campaign, supported by ACC and NZSAR was introduced in 2017.

Over the four year period fatalities among this cohort have reduced significantly among NZ European males.


Males 15 – 34 years preventable fatalities (2016 – 2020)


4. Males 50+ Recreational boating 


Boating fatalities by region per 100,000 (2016 – 2020)




Lifejacket use


5. Insights Gaps

Incidents where the victims had no intention of being in the water when on land, represents approximately a third of the 390 preventable drowning fatalities in the period 2016 – 2020.

These incidents are random by age, geographic location and environments but falls/slips are a major contributor. In addition, alcohol appears to be a very strong contributing factor, and drugs and mental health a possible contributing factors. The majority of victims are NZ European males and a disproportionate number have been unemployed at their time of death.

Further Insights work is required to identify interventions and support in this area.


Five years (2016 – 2020)



6. Asian


Asian - Preventable Fatalities (2016 – 2020)


7. Underwater diving (scuba, snorkeling, free)


Preventable Fatalities (2016 – 2020)























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