Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025

To be the lead agency in providing quality, evidence-based drowning prevention education in the Auckland region.

1.1: By sharing expertise and best practice, be the lead agency for drowning prevention education in the Auckland region.
1.2: Demonstrate excellence in professional learning and development that meets relevant standards across the formal education, workplace and community development sectors.
1.3: Ensure quality educational programmes that are adaptive through research-informed evaluations utilising current best practice.
1.4: Champion a teach-the-teacher model to more effectively resource the education sector in drowning prevention educational practice.
1.5: Champion the train-the-trainer model to increase the breadth and depth of drowning prevention education within the Auckland community sector.
1.6: Focus our efforts on the evidenced areas of need where there are gaps in delivery such as Māori, Pacific, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, secondary-aged young people and adults.
1.7: Continuing to develop, maintain and update innovative learning approaches such as the eLearning platform.
1.8: Develop and update educational resources to remove barriers to access as well as emphasising our teach-the-teacher approach.

To utilise our research to inform the development and delivery of our drowning prevention work.

2.1: Continue to develop a knowledge base through research that informs best practice.
2.2: Collect and disseminate relevant research and information on drowning prevention, water competence and water safety initiatives.
2.3: Maintain a research presence both nationally and internationally.
2.4: Utilise the investment in research to develop programmes and initiatives that are effective and relevant.
2.5: Develop an evaluative practice that is accessible by our team and monitors the delivery of intervention and informs the development of new programmes.
2.6: Be able to evidence our impact on drowning prevention and water competence across the Auckland region.
2.7: Ensure our research is accessible and understood by staff and the wider community through quality, simplified summaries.
2.8: Publish literature of relevance to water competence and drowning prevention.
2.9: Contribute towards national and international-level research priorities.
2.10: Support the development of a more evidence-based water safety sector.

To champion drowning prevention education and policy development.

3.1: Raise the profile of Drowning Prevention Auckland in the Auckland region.
3.2: Through effective storytelling, advocate for an improvement in knowledge, attitudes and ultimately behaviours around water environments in the Auckland region.
3.3: Utilise lifejacket hubs to grow water safety awareness and safe behaviours around water environments in the Auckland region.
3.4: Narrow our focus for drowning prevention messaging in order that they are simple and relevant for Auckland-based water environments.
3.5: Create water safety champions within the Auckland community to grow water competence and expand the reach of our drowning prevention education.
3.6: Promote research-informed initiatives in drowning prevention.

Our partnerships are strong, collaborative and synergistic and are maximised to strengthen positive collective impact for drowning prevention.

4.1: Engagement with members and water safety sector partners to collaborate and contribute to regional drowning prevention strategies.
4.2: Actively nurture and develop the special relationship with Auckland based iwi and Māori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
4.3: Work closely with Māori, Pacific and culturally and linguistically diverse communities to co-create effective and meaningful drowning prevention education programmes.
4.4: Partner with synergistic organisations (government and non-government) to champion drowning prevention within the Auckland region.
4.5: Grow trust in DPA in order that we are known as being reliable, excellent practitioners and leaders in drowning prevention.
4.6: Nurture relationship with key funders and supporters, particularly Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board, with a focus on partnering together for the reduction of drowning in the Auckland region.

To be financially sustainable with strong leadership to ensure long-term impact in drowning prevention.

5.1: Ensure financial sustainability through robust financial management and planning.
5.2: Maximise and grow funding from all available sources including education, community and the workplace.
5.3: Lead by example through best-practice governance and management in order that we are fit for purpose, innovative, resilient and adaptive to changing environments.
5.4: Retain registered teachers in the workforce to inform our educational approach.
5.5: Actively diversify our funding stream to future-proof the organisation.
5.6: To be an employer of choice through great leadership, lived values, being a supporter and contributor to learning and demonstrating a deep commitment to the cause of drowning prevention.
5.7: Ensure relevancy for Auckland given our main funding source is the Auckland ratepayers.
5.8: Act sustainably in our work processes and delivery to support the protection of Auckland’s water environments.

To lead on regional initiatives that improve drowning prevention knowledge for all Aucklanders.

6.1: Coordinate and lead drowning prevention initiatives that are meaningful and relevant for Auckland water environments.
6.2: Work in partnership with Water Safety New Zealand to support and drive our collective goals for drowning prevention within Auckland.
6.3: Represent the Auckland Regional Drowning Prevention Strategy both regionally and nationally.

New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020

In 2015 New Zealand’s water safety sector embarked on an ambitious plan to achieve significant impact on New Zealand’s high drowning toll with the vision of no one drowning. The New Zealand Water Safety Sector Strategy 2020 sets out the sector’s plan to collectively work together over the coming years (2015-2020) to meet a number of significant goals and create a culture where all New Zealanders will enjoy the water safely.

The goals include:

  • Preventable* drowning deaths reduced from 77 to 50 or less (-35%).
  • Drowning hospitalisations reduced from 172 to 100 or less (-42%).
  • Male drowning deaths halved from 66 to 33 or less.
  • Preschool drowning deaths reduced from six to zero.

* Preventable drownings are defined as all drowning deaths other than those that result from suicides, homicides and vehicle accidents. Statistics are expressed as a five-year average.

WaterSafe Auckland is proud to be one of many water safety organisations that have committed to achieving these goals, including: WaterSafety New Zealand, ACC, Coastguard New Zealand, Coastguard Boating Education, Maritime New Zealand, New Zealand Recreation Association, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Swimming New Zealand.

For further information on the Strategy visit

Community Safety Strategy

Globally, drowning is a major cause of unintentional injury death for all ages. In New Zealand it’s the second highest cause for the 0-25yr age group, third highest cause across the population.

In response to alarming statistics such as these, an international task force on open water drowning prevention established theInternational Open Water Safety Guidelines for families and individuals recreating at any open water site.

Whilst any of these actions may increase your level of safety, using a combination / or all of them will offer the most protection.

Keep Yourself Safe

  • Learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Always swim with others
  • Obey all safety signs and warning flags
  • Never go in the water after drinking alcohol
  • Know how and when to use a lifejacket
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Know the water and weather conditions before getting in the water
  • Always enter shallow and unknown water feet first

Keep Others Safe

  • Help and encourage others, especially children, to learn swimming and water safety survival skills
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards
  • Set water safety rules
  • Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water
  • Know how and when to use life jackets, especially with children and weak swimmers
  • Learn first aid and CPR
  • Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger
  • Obey all safety signs and warning signs

These guidelines also informed the development of the New Zealand Safety Codes, for outdoor, boating and water safety. You can find out more about these on the Safety Codes page.

For further information on the Task Force and Guidelines visit the Seattle Children’s Hospital