In September our Spring Forum brought together sector leaders, research, and industry experts to share and discuss some of the key findings arising from PRE research and related water safety projects.

Dr Kevin Moran, DPA set the scene around the problems and practices worldwide which highlighted some of the similar issues and procedures to New Zealand, whilst identifying considerations for solutions. He was clear on role of PRE during a rescue was to ‘interrupt the chain of survival and buy time’. He also provided findings and updates on behaviours of Rock-based fishers from data spanning back to 2011.

Dr Teresa Stanley, DPA and Dr Mick Kearney, SLSNZ shared the current findings from our collaborative PRE project funded by NZSAR. The project aims to produce national guidelines that helps coastal managers and emergency services make better-informed decisions about PRE requirements and educate on their use.

Dr Stanley shared the results from a trial of testing accuracy of throw for the various proposed PRE to see which would be best suited for various locations. Results showed that for the majority of the population, throwing efficiency of most PRE is very limited. Dr Kearney shared the research into the identified signage issues and researched options, including a case study from South Africa.

Ants Lowe discussed the findings from our freshwater hazard assessments (outlined above) and introduced Holly Foreman from Safeswim, Auckland Council to discuss the new pins and share further information about the WHO recognised platform. The platform allows people to check water safety and water quality before they swim with the number of sites around New Zealand (including beach and freshwater) continuing to grow.