WSFL Guide photo for website header

Water Skills for Life (WSFL)

WSFL is our initiative aimed at giving every New Zealander aged 5 to 13 the skills they need for lifelong water safety. WSFL is based on the best international research that tells us water survival skills should form the basis of aquatic education and presents the most effective way to improve water safety outcomes. It is now accepted that the ability to swim on its own is not enough to save a life. New Zealanders need to be able to recognise hazards and make sensible decisions in, on and around water.

Taught prior to a focus on technical swimming and adopted nationally, WSFL will bring down our drowning toll. This initiative has the full endorsement of Swimming New Zealand and requires the commitment of schools at a national level. WSFL will also lead to greater participation in water based sport and recreation including competitive swimming. The programme is easy to teach and fun for the students to learn. It is focused on practical skills and knowledge for real world situations.

WSNZ is supporting SNZ to deliver professional development for teachers AT NO COST TO THE SCHOOL so you can implement Water Skills for Life.

We are encouraging all schools to support the introduction of Water Skills for Life.

As a nation surrounded by water, learning practical water survival skills at an early age is essential. By learning WSFL not only will our kids learn to keep themselves safe they will also be taking part in an active programme that supports their health and well being.

For more information visit or call us on 04 8019600.

To organise a professional development session call Chris Morgan at Swimming New Zealand on 027 240 9627.



Being waterwise is smart

We are an island nation with some of the most magnificent waterways in the world. Our oceans, coasts, beaches, lakes and rivers help define us and reflect the people we have become. Water is life and in New Zealand, it’s our way of life, but it also takes life.

Our vision is all Kiwis, new New Zealanders and visitors having a safe experience in, on or around the waterways of Aotearoa, New Zealand. With a respect for the water and an awareness of the potential dangers to themselves and others, knowing how to prevent injury, preserve life and enjoy their water experiences.

 We're working with water safety sector organisations, individuals and the public to help deliver programmes, services and initiatives to make positive social change in New Zealand. Water Safety New Zealand's role is to provide leadership, advocacy, policy development and funding to the sector to create a thriving society for individuals, families and communities. 


With special thanks to our partners:

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Drowning Toll

2016 Preventable Total (provisional): 78

This year as at 29 May 2017: 31
Same time last year: 36