New eLearning module for parents and caregivers of under fives

New eLearning module for parents and caregivers of under fives

Concerted efforts in education for parents and young children, together with legislation around pool fences and barriers have significantly reduced drowning in children aged under five-years. However, under-fives still comprise 6% of preventable drowning fatalities and 14% of hospitalisations between 2018- 2022. Drowning Prevention Auckland is committed to preventing future tragedies by making water safety awareness and education accessible for everyone.

The good news is we know that children are fast and keen learners – in fact, evidence shows that the ‘quickest’ age to develop your water competence is six years of age, provided they have had appropriate experiences to develop confidence and awareness.

Informed by robust, international research, DPA has released another Early Childhood eLearning module: Young Children Developing Water Competence. This free course can be done at home and is focused on parents, or caregivers building water confidence with their preschool tamariki.

Water competency education for children under five begins at home. As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s first teacher, and you know your child better than anyone. We encourage you to make the most of everyday opportunities – like bath time and outdoor play – to develop water safety awareness in fun and meaningful ways.

What if I can’t access a pool or swimming lessons?

We know that sometimes accessing a pool is difficult because of the entry cost or cost of swimming lessons, cold weather, or you’re too far away from your nearest pool. With our new eLearning module, you can gain valuable and practical information at home at a time that suits you.

Made with parents and caregivers in mind, this new module covers three areas: “Bath and shower”, “Garden and backyard”, and “Swimming Pools” and includes guidance on all 15 water competencies, including:

  • entering and exiting the water
  • submerging
  • breath control
  • floating and moving through the water

You can read more about the 15 water competencies here.

A great head start before school

Starting this education at home is a great idea because your child will then be safer around water, as well as being more confident and ready to learn traditional swimming strokes when they start school.

While our new module is aimed at parents and caregivers, this information will also be valuable for early childhood educators.

To sum up, this course is recommended for anyone who has regular care of children under five – why not get grandparents and the rest of your whānau involved?

Check out the new module today!

After completing this free Young Children Developing Water Competence online module, you will:

• understand how to keep your under-fives safe when near water
• have ideas on ways to have fun with your young child in and around water
• know how to build you and your young child’s water competence

Other free courses available

DPA has a range of other free eLearning courses available on our website, including “Early Childhood Water Safety”. This course covers the ‘Layers of Protection’ that are essential to help keep your young children safe around bodies of water. The four layers of protection are: supervision, barriers, water competence and CPR. While this content is also aimed at parents of under-fives, the material can be used by early childhood educators. This course covers several water competencies and will help you teach your young children water competence and confidence in and around the home, around pools and spas, and in open water environments.

Visit eLearning platform

In-person opportunities to extend your knowledge and confidence

DPA continues to work alongside early childhood centres, kindergartens, schools and kura, and homebased learning services around Auckland to encourage the inclusion of water safety in the curriculum, giving both parents and children confidence around water.

What’s more, we offer free presentations and resources to parents and caregivers. If you’re interested in organising a DPA presentation for a parent group, please contact: Helen Meyrick on: [email protected]

We also offer professional learning and development for early childhood educators, as well as classroom-based water safety sessions for under-fives. Our goal is to continue making drowning prevention education as accessible, meaningful, and as much fun as possible.

Contact us for information

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Manawa Makes a Splash

Manawa Makes a Splash

Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

Manawa Makes a Splash

Manawa Makes a Splash

Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau.

Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in school and his behaviour was often erratic.

Living in the small East Coast town of Ruatoria, (Ruatorea) near Gisborne, made access to services and professionals that could help very difficult.

After years of struggle, his father Sparks, along with some supportive medical specialists, decided it was time to stop focusing on what he “should” be doing and instead focus on what he loves to do.

For Manawa that means going hard on the self taught drums, flying through the air doing bombs, hot pools and all things water related.

And so for four school holidays in a row, Sparks and Manawa made the eight hour journey from Ruatoria to Auckland to attend the Splash Break-Away Programme run by Drowning Prevention Auckland, first in Manurewa then at West Wave in Henderson.

Sparks explains that being in the water is beneficial for Manawa’s focus, its something he enjoys and can be successful at doing.
“I spent many hours for three weeks looking at different holiday programmes around New Zealand, he’d done lots of different camps, basketball holiday programmes, but then I saw Splash.”

“He loves it. He loves the staff, he thinks they are really cool, there was no negativity and he enjoys being around the other kids. He wasn’t sure if he would like it at first but he really did. I had tears in my eyes driving back to Ruatoria listening to him talk about having such a good time.”

“It’s something new to learn and it’s really fun, I like everything about it.”
Manawa Harrison

Sparks is also appreciative of West Wave Aquatics Centre and Diving New Zealand who made time for Manawa to do some sweet bombs from the top diving board.

“The younger kids from the Splash programme came to watch him and were like ‘wow look at him’ – he loved that.”

Being involved in water and water safety programmes have really helped build Manawa’s self confidence and he is now regularly attending school in Ruatoria as well as Tautau Village in Gisborne to help him with life skills. He has a bright future ahead of him with plans to play the drums at Wembley Stadium as well as help other children with Autism find their passions.

“Manawa wasn’t ever supposed to be able to do some of things he can do, but he is doing them.”

One Day Water Safety Programme

Our next Splash one day water safety programmes run at several facilities across Auckland in the September/October school holidays

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Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

Water Competency Sessions

Water Competency Sessions

Adult drowning rates in New Zealand are increasing.

Research has found that this is likely for a number of reasons:

  • Lack of water safety practice
  • Entrenched unsafe attitudes toward open water participation
  • Underestimation of risks in aquatic activity
  • Overly optimistic perception of capacity to cope with that risk

(Stanley & Moran, 2021)

The adult water competency pilot programme was completed in June 2022 which showed some interesting results:

  • Adults overestimated their water competence in controlled pool environment
  • Although not tested in open water during the pilot, adults perceived open water competency was likely to be overestimated
  • All participants water competency improved after education at the conclusion of the programme

(Stanley & Carmine, 2022)

Here’s what participants had to say about the programme:

I was incredibly surprised that I was able to improve weaknesses with a few simple tips from the facilitator

I was shocked to realise that there were some things that I couldn’t do after years of thinking I could do them; this was a real eye opener to figure out what I could do and how to keep myself safer in the water

Want to improve your water competency?

Take this opportunity to test yourself in the safety of the pool with instructors on hand to guide you. Can you do everything you think you can? Could you be safer in the water?

To improve your water competency, join a free session at one of the four venues that Drowning Prevention Auckland are facilitating with the support of Auckland Council. The session is one hour long, free of charge and is designed to help you discover your current level of water competency and give you tips on how to improve it.

To join this free initiative, contact one of the four sites below.

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Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

He Taonga Te Wai – Dawn Event

He Taonga Te Wai – Dawn Event

Drowning Prevention Auckland are pleased to invite you to our World Drowning Prevention Day dawn service – He Taonga Te Wai on 25 July.

Supported by Te Ahiwaru Trust, the event acknowledges our close connection with water as we come together to remember the tragic loss of life and bring hope to the future.

This year we will gather close to Makaurau Marae, on the shores of Te Maanukanuka o Hoturoa, Manukau Harbour. The start and end point for many great journeys on the water, following in the waves of Te Ahiwaru’s ancestor, Hape.

Please RSVP by 19 July and help us bring to light the impact of drowning in our communities, here in Tāmaki Makaurau, across Aotearoa and loved ones overseas.

Event format:

6:45am – 7:00am – Arrival
7:00am – 8:30am – Dawn service followed by refreshments
Please join us singing Tai Aroha during the service.


Oruarangi Esplanade Reserve, Maangere
Parking is available on the road.

Community Water Safety Education

Community Water Safety Education

Highlights from our April activity including Wai Wise, a global drowning prevention event at Vector Wero Whitewater Park and the new one-day SPLASH holiday programme.

Wai Wise Programme

One of DPA’s flagship programmes, Wai Wise, ran for the first time with Auckland’s Asian community last month.

The programme provides an insight of water safety learning through both theory sessions and a series of practical workshops to improve water competence, survival and safety skills. Over twenty participants from Chinese Dragon Boat Association (CDBA) nicknamed the Dragon Riders, took part. over several weekends. . Whilst participants joined with boating experience from paddling dragon boats, they lacked water safety knowledge and experience.

DPA partnered with Coastguard Boating Education (CBE) who supported the courses on Day Skipper and In-water Survival.

“I thought water safety was all about swimming techniques before joining Wai Wise, and now I realised there is way more knowledge and experience that we need to gain. I feel lucky to have been the Skipper of the boat in the drowning simulation and rescue scenario. I practiced using the communication device on Channel 16, then started to deliver Distress code on Mayday, and I wish to let other Asian communities know that participation in these programmes is important for all of us”
Shan Shan Xu

Global water safety and drowning prevention event – Vector Wero Whitewater Park

Last month, Vector Wero hosted a global water safety and drowning prevention event in collaboration with several key partners in the aquatics industry. The event provided members of the public with free in-water experiences, lessons and resources to keep themselves safer in on and around the water. The activities included white water rafting, stand up paddleboarding, canoe polo and kayaking.

It was fantastic to see such high levels of engagement with hundreds of people learning and having fun.

The DPA team provided guidance and information on Auckland’s navigational safety bylaws, lifejacket use, pool safety messaging and ran a real time demonstration of the 4R’s for bystander rescue. The demonstration teaches members of the public how to assist people in the water without putting themselves at risk. This is an important skill to learn as statistics show us that 3% of rescuers who enter the water to save somebody in distress end up drowning themselves.

What are the 4Rs of Bystander Rescue

  • Recognition This emphasises the importance of recognising when someone is at risk of drowning and taking action to prevent it. This includes being aware of the signs of distress, such as gasping for air or struggling to stay afloat and taking immediate action to assist them. It is also important to keep an eye on those who are swimming or playing in the water, particularly children or those who may not be strong swimmers.
  • Respond If someone is in danger of drowning, the next step is to respond quickly. This may involve alerting others in the area, such as lifeguards, other swimmers or calling 111 and asking for the police. It is important to remember that time is of the essence in a drowning situation, so any delay in responding could have serious consequences.
  • Rescue The next step is to rescue the person in danger. This may involve using tools around you including, flotation devices, water bottles, sticks, throwing a rope or other objects to the person which will assist in keeping them afloat until they are able to swim to shore or until help arrives.
  • Resuscitation Finally, once the person has been rescued, it is important to revive them if necessary. This may involve performing CPR at a rate of 30 compressions and two breaths or other lifesaving techniques like the recovery position until emergency responders arrive.

Complete the free Bystander Rescue lesson within the Water Safety for Youth and Young Adults eLearning module.

For more information about events, contact Harry Aonga – Team Leader Community Education & Events: [email protected] or on 0211118674.

April 2023 SPLASH Holiday Programme

SPLASH originally started as a weeklong holiday programme and has has now been re-designed to to run in one day – a day filled with new learnings and water safety experiences.

During the school holidays, SPLASH took place at Mount Albert Aquatic Centre, offering two daylong programmes for around 30 children aged 8-10 and11-13 year olds. The programme covers many aspects around the water, with some of these being, lifejacket safety, boating safety, recognising, and assisting a drowning person and beach safety.

The children thoroughly enjoyed all of the activities with the highlights being the snorkelling and safer boating. The safer boating activity not only taught them what to do and what to wear when on a boat, but it also developed their teamwork and leadership skills.

The children really enjoyed the programme and left with a whole new set of skills. Many were keen to return for the next holidays!

“I learnt to bring a first aid kit and communications on a boat and to always tell someone where you are going”
“I liked the snorkelling, I learnt about how to snorkel especially how to use the mask and snorkel and I liked picking up the paua shells”

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Kāhui Ako Conference – ‘Together We Are Stronger!’ (Massey Schools Cluster)

Kāhui Ako Conference – ‘Together We Are Stronger!’ (Massey Schools Cluster)

The recent Kāhui Ako Conference for the Massey Schools Cluster brought together educators of all levels, from early childhood to secondary school for a day of connection and learning.

Held on the first day of term two, the event was a rare chance for teachers and school leaders to network, attend workshops on a range of educational topics as well as learn more about various education providers in attendance, including Drowning Prevention Auckland.

The DPA education team, Helen Meyrick and Lynley Stewart were heartened by the positive response from teachers who were interested to hear about the support available for aquatic education in schools.

Drowning Prevention Auckland offers free, tailored professional learning and development (PLD) within the education sector to assist schools in developing an aquatic education programme in line with the NZC (2007) expectations.

If you or your school would like to know more, please contact Lynley Stewart.

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Manawa Makes a Splash

Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

How’s Your Workplace Water Competency?

How’s Your Workplace Water Competency?

Drowning Prevention Auckland partners with workplaces around Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland and further afield to offer their employees invaluable water safety training. Whether your organisation works directly or indirectly in a water-based environment, a Water Competency course will equip your people to be safer in, on and around the water.

Thirty-four percent of people drown when they have unintentionally entered in the water and 3% of bystander rescuers end up drowning. With the key learnings from the Developing Water Competency course, staff will be able to equip themselves with knowledge and skills to keep themselves safer around the water.

Josh Carmine, the DPA Educator running the workplace programmes, is a qualified paramedic, accomplished lifeguard and experienced instructor. He enjoys running fun and interactive sessions for organisations that wish to increase their people’s water competence.

“It is very rewarding to see groups thrive in controlled environments that challenge, encourage and enhance the skill levels of all who attend. It is always a real highlight to see those lightbulb moments as participants learn to understand hazards, recognise and assist people who are in difficulty in the water.” says Josh.

Covering a number of the 15 water competencies, including recognising and avoiding water hazards, floating, treading water, and bystander rescue techniques when in water or on land, the workplace water safety programmes are not only excellent for personal development but also an excellent team-building experience.

At the end of the one-day water competence programme, participants experience increased confidence in their own ability to respond to emergency situations in, on and around the water.

  • Fun and interactive learning tailored to the needs of your team
  • Fantastic team building experience
  • Learn more about the coastal environment
  • Learn how to keep yourself and others safer in and around the water
  • Learn essential skills for in water survival
  • Learn dry based rescue techniques
  • Improve general water competency and confidence
“I learnt an incredible amount of things from the knowledgeable instructor who even made a conscious and impressive effort to include te reo Māori into his presentations.”
“Fantastic instructor, he was able to cater for all skills and abilities and was able to relate the training to our workplace roles.”
“I really enjoyed the course, I took so much value from learning how to rescue someone from land as I am not the best swimmer myself.”

Would you like to find out more about our water competency courses for the workplace? Contact Josh Carmine ([email protected]) or explore options on our website.

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Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

Realising Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau

Realising Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau

Realising Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Strategy
What are the top priorities?

A year and a half on from the first sector hui for Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Strategy, we bring you an update of what’s been happening recently. We look at what’s involved in the implementation phase and to the future.

What’s been happening?

It has been a busy two months with 33 stakeholder groups meeting on a one-to-one basis, to build relationships and uncover stakeholder perspectives of the strategy and future direction. Amongst the challenges and we found an overarching will to collaborate to ensure effectiveness and efficiency going forward.

The Steering Group meeting, held on the 21 March, endorsed the direction of the Strategy implementation work for the next five months, and this was reaffirmed by the Reference Group meeting held on the 23 March. Attendees voiced support for the four strategic strands and identified priority implementation initiatives for the short-term focus.

Six Priorities

The feedback provided clear direction on the priorities, with agreement on how to proceed in the short term, as follows:

  • Advocate through collective submissions
  • Refresh the Integrated Aquatic Programme (IAP)
  • Create team to craft generic messages designed to be overarching but unpack to sector specific messages.
  • Create team to seek existing communication networks and provide coordination/connection for the sector.
  • Create an independent WOTM fund holder and secretariat.
  • Expand members of Reference Group to improve capacity.
What’s next?

The first working group has been established to focus on the Integrated Aquatic Programme (IAP) – tasked to refresh, extend, and create an interactive resource for the benefit of the wider community.

Regular sector engagement will continue through weekly emails, face-to-face meetings, and the creation of specific working groups.

The inclusion of additional organisations beyond the wet sector is proposed for the future to support capacity and advocacy.

Look out for updates on the next working groups as the team continue sector engagement meetings and activities to progress these 6 priorities.

Save the dates
Working Group 1 Meeting

13 April, 8am – 9.30am @ DPA
Integrated Aquatic Programme

Meeting dates for additional working groups will be added in due course. It is envisaged organisations with specific interest of expertise will join respective working groups but is optional.

Reference Group Meetings

8am – 10am @ DPA

  • 27 April
  • 27 July
  • 21 September
  • October – pending
Want to know more?

There’s more information about Wai Ora Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Strategy over on the dedicated webpage. Click the button to learn more.

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Manawa means heart in Te Reo Māori and “our heart” is what Manawa Harrison, 17, is to his friends and whānau. Manawa’s journey has not been an easy one. He was diagnosed at a young age with Autism, ADHD, SPD and mild Tourette Syndrome. He had trouble focusing in...

2022 Spring Forum Overview

2022 Spring Forum Overview

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.

Grief and healing the focus of World Drowning Prevention Day, with dawn memorial planned for Tāmaki Makaurau

Grief and healing the focus of World Drowning Prevention Day, with dawn memorial planned for Tāmaki Makaurau

MEDIA RELEASE | 21 July 2022

A very special commemoration to honour those who have lost their lives to drowning is planned for Monday 25 July 2022.

This event held at St Mary’s Bay, Tāmaki Makaurau, will provide healing for people who are grieving the loss of a special person in their lives. Rihari Wilson, who mourns the loss of his father and brother to drowning will speak on behalf of grieving families and raise awareness of the importance of water safety education so people can enjoy the water safely.

In the evening, the Sky Tower will light up blue as other nations across the world commence their tributes.

Drowning Prevention Auckland says this is a sad but important day for those families in Aotearoa and globally who have lost loved ones through drowning. But it is also a day of hope. In New Zealand, drownings are largely preventable and water safety education is the key to improving people’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour around water.

“The water safety sector in New Zealand is united as one voice to raise awareness that anyone can drown, no one should”, says Drowning Prevention Auckland chief executive, Nicola Keen-Biggelaar.

“This year alone, since New Year’s Day, 10 people have drowned in the Auckland region. In the last five years, drowning took the lives of 85 people locally (2017 – 2021)*. All 85 deaths were preventable leaving 85 families devastated.

“With warmer water this past summer, we’ve noticed more people visiting beaches, going out on boats, playing on new toys like paddleboards and kayaks. Yet we also saw more people get into strife and overestimate their current level of fitness or be willing to take more risks after going through extended lockdowns.”

Auckland Councillor and Parks, Arts, Community and Events Chairperson Alf Filipaina says that the impact of drowning deaths on the community really brings home the need to mark this day: “Too many people lose their lives through drowning. Communities are fractured with the loss of loved ones. This day remembers but also highlights we must do all we can to prevent families and communities losing their whānau and friends.”

Drowning affects every nation of the world. In New Zealand, the drowning rate is disproportionately high compared to other OECD countries.

In April 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first ever Resolution on drowning prevention, acknowledging the issue for the first time in its 75-year history. New Zealand, along with over 80 countries worldwide, including Australia and some Pacific Nations, co-sponsored this historic resolution, which was initiated by Bangladesh and Ireland.

“Drowning is a preventable public health problem. As an organisation dedicated to saving lives in, on and around water, Drowning Prevention Auckland takes positive and practical action to promote and teach people water safety skills to help keep Kiwis safe around water”, says Keen-Biggelaar.

Drowning Prevention Auckland is one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s lead water safety education providers delivering water safety education and rescue training into the community and digitally through their free online education portal. Their drowning prevention strategies and education programmes are reaching into diverse communities, and across preschools and schools to teach people to enjoy the water safely.

Keen-Biggelaar is thrilled to have the collective support of members of the water safety sector and the public attend the commemorations at St Mary’s Bay at dawn (7am) on 25 July.

“This acknowledges the important work we are all doing to promote and deliver life saving education so families can celebrate their water experiences.” says Keen- Biggelaar.

*Auckland Region and New Zealand drowning Preventable deaths 1 Jan 2017 – 31 Dec 2021 Report. (Water Safety New Zealand).

Photo credit: The Hui (Newshub)

Lifejacket Use and Maintenance

Lifejacket Use and Maintenance

Calling Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland home means living in a city surrounded by many beautiful water environments. Recreational activities on or near the water are common, everywhere from our lakes and rivers, to our harbours and rugged west coast beaches.

Along with the health and wellbeing benefits these water-based activities bring, also comes the risk of drowning. A tragic and preventable event that can affect anyone.

The Maritime NZ Boating Fatality Report notes 98 recreational boating fatalities in the six years 2015-2019. Over half (58%) were not wearing a lifejacket, and in a further 9% the lifejackets were not worn or secured correctly. The report states that most fatalities occurred when the person ended up in the water after falling overboard, or the vessel capsizing or being swamped. The incidents occurred suddenly and the victims did not have time to fit lifejackets if they were not already being worn.

Whether you are boating, fishing, paddling, or gathering seafood, it is important that you know when and how to wear a lifejacket (sometimes referred to as a PFD – Personal Flotation Devices).

When do you need to wear a lifejacket?

Bylaws on the wearing of lifejackets vary. Click the button to check the rules about when you need to wear a lifejacket (Ture ā-Rohe Mahi Urungi Āhuru 2021 Navigation Bylaw 2021)

How to fit a lifejacket

It is absolutely essential that your lifejacket is correctly fitted. It should fit snugly and shouldn’t ride up when the person enters the water.
Out of the water
  • Read the label on the lifejacket to find the right fit. Select the correct lifejacket by size and weight indicators.
  • Check belt straps are not twisted.
  • Put it on and do up the zip, if applicable, and each buckle so that it is a snug fit.
  • Self check the belt by inserting two fingers between the belt and the lifejacket.
  • Buddy check by lifting at the shoulders to ensure the lifejacket doesn’t ride up past earlobes.
In the water
You may need to do this in emergency situations such as accidental falls from a boat not wearing a lifejacket or if thrown a lifejacket as a rescue aid.

  • Open lifejacket and lie it face up in the water.
  • Lie on top of the lifejacket, without putting arms through the armholes.
  • Put one arm through the opposite armholes.
  • Rotate body and put other arm through other armhole.

Maintaining lifejackets

Not only should you have a correctly fitted lifejacket for every person taking part in the water-based activity, these lifejackets should be in good condition.

Most manufacturers state that lifejackets should last ten years, but this can be less depending on wear, care, and storage.

Wash in fresh water, and dry completely before storing. Check for damage before you put your lifejackets away.

Check if your lifejacket will work:

  • Pull the straps, hard.
  • Look for tears or cuts in the straps.
  • Check for tears, cuts, or punctures in the lifejacket.
  • Check if it floats – Check with the manufacturer or lifejacket service centre.

For more information on checking lifejackets visit the Check your lifejackets page of the Maritime NZ website.

If you have an inflatable lifejacket we advise you to perform this check annually to ensure your lifejacket is operational.

Don’t have a lifejacket? Borrow one from us!

If you need a lifejacket for an upcoming activity and don’t have one, then you can borrow one from one of our Lifejacket Hubs around Tāmaki Makaurau. Click the button for locations and to find out more.

School group lifejacket loan scheme

We have a supply of lifejackets available, free of charge, for aquatic education programmes. Click the button for more information.

Free e-learning platform

Our free e-learning platform has several topics relating to the usage of lifejackets for various ages and activities.
Spring Forum 2022

Spring Forum 2022

WHEN 1pm to 5pm, Tuesday 20 September, 2022
WHERE Hyundai Marine Sports Centre, 8/10 Tamaki Drive, Auckland
RSVPTo [email protected] by Tuesday 13 September

Come along to hear about:

How research is informing the development of national PRE guidelines and how this can provide safer environments and opportunities for safer bystander rescue.
How risk assessment of freshwater sites is achieved and how it is being used by Safeswim to increase public safety.


Dr Kevin Moran (DPA)

Public Rescue Equipment – the problems and practice worldwide

Dr Mick Kearney (SLSNZ) & Dr Teresa Stanley (DPA)

Public Rescue Equipment and the establishment of national guidelines

Ants Lowe (DPA)

Freshwater hazard assessment

Holly Foreman (Auckland Council)

Safeswim platform