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Water Safety Skills for HB Children

Hawke’s Bay Regional Harbourmaster Martin Moore supports Water Safety NZ’s call for better swimming and water safety education for NZ children.

Water Safety NZ yesterday reported a new study by Associate Professor Chris Button of Otago University which shows New Zealand children lack the basic knowledge to save themselves in the water. The study of 48 primary school aged children (6-11 years) from eight schools around Dunedin found limited levels of propulsion skills, with 62% unable to swim 100 metres.

In Hawke’s Bay, school children have access to the HBRC’s Harbourmaster Safer Boating school programme that has been running for several years.  This teaches children how to fit a lifejacket, safety on a boat and what to do in the water when wearing a lifejacket.

“Children need to know that their lifejacket has to fit them properly, or they will be at risk. They also need to know how to stay afloat until help arrives,” says Harbourmaster Martin Moore.

 This summer, schools in the Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay districts are the focus for the Safe Boating and Survival presentation run by HBRC’s Harbourmaster in conjunction with Maritime New Zealand. The programme is not compulsory for schools but HBRC offers it at no cost and schools can register for it and set aside a half day for students to take part. 

Last summer, Napier schools and Wairoa district schools took part – around 300 children.  Schools in these areas will be offered the opportunity of a visit again in the summer of 2018-19.

“Meanwhile, as well as this programme, an enjoyable safe boating interactive course is available at the Wairoa, Flaxmere and Clive public swimming pools,” said Harbourmaster Moore.   “Families whose children go out on boats should make sure they have completed a course before they next go out, so you can have a greater security your child knows what to do if there’s an incident.”

Schools or parents can contact the pools about these classes and costs.

 More information - Water Safety NZ Media Release 

5 September 2017

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