Drowning statistics for January nearly twice last year's

30/01/2015

With 18 drownings overall this month - up from 10 at the same time last year - safety leaders are concerned.

Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge said kiwi blokes needed to change their "she'll be right attitude". Of the 18 deaths this month, 15 were men.

"They need to ask themselves 'are the conditions suitable for me to go into or out on the water and do I have the necessary skills?' "

Holiday drownings: 6 men, one baby

He said three quarters of provisional drowning toll for last year - 90 deaths - were men.

"If New Zealand's terrible drowning toll is to come down it requires a huge change in culture and behaviour.

"The water safety sector is working together to drive this change but communities, whanau and individuals all need to step up and say let's improve on our poor track record and stop the drownings once and for all."

Surf Life Saving New Zealand chief executive Paul Dalton said it concerned him that eight of the drownings had been at unpatrolled beaches, when at the same time last year there was only one.

The eight drownings at beaches so far this year are just three fewer than last year's total of 11.

Dalton said this further reinforced the need to always choose a patrolled beach, and to swim between the flags.

Drownings in NZ - 2015

- 18 drowning deaths for 2015 by January 29

- Eight of those at unpatrolled beaches

- Five in rivers

- 15 men, 3 women

- Nine were swimming at the time

Drownings 2014 

- Provisional national total for 2014 was 90

- Eight were pre-school children

- down from 2013's final total of 107, but may rise as coronial reports are received

- 20 of the 90 deaths were in rivers

- 11 were while swimming

- Five people drowned when fishing from land

- Five deaths in non-powered boating and water sports

Source: The Dominion Post

By Tim Donoghue