Most people in trouble in the water don’t drown, but some rescuers do. In the last 30 years 88 people have drowned in New Zealand while attempting to rescue others. It is a little known fact that, in most cases, the original victim survived and the rescuer drowned. In 2014, 5 out of 9 drowning deaths on New Zealand beaches involved rescuers.

Is someone in trouble in the water? Do the 4Rs.


  • Notice someone in trouble.
  • Check for danger.
  • Act quickly.


  • Provide flotation.
  • Send for help (Call 111 – Police)
  • Reassess safety of people and scene.


  • Think safe.
  • Rescue from land or craft is safest.
  • Rescue in water – non-contact is safest.
  • Take flotation if entering the water.


  • Provide care.
  • If person is not breathing normally, start CPR.
  • If breathing, put in recovery position.
  • Stay with person until help arrives.

WAI 4Rs flyer _Aug15 FINAL to download a copy of the flyer for yourself and watch the video.