As leader of a sector that relies predominantly on a volunteer base to save lives, Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) during National Volunteer Week is acknowledging the great contribution they make to our society.
“By nature, Kiwis like to give of their time to help others. The water safety sector is certainly no exception,” says Chief Executive Jonty Mills. “Over half a million Kiwis volunteer in some way shape or form within our sector”.
Unfortunately, New Zealand also holds the unenviable position of having one of the highest preventable drowning tolls in the developed world.
“This is a sector that relies predominantly on a volunteer base. Without them, the drowning toll in this country would unquestionably be catastrophic” says Mills.
Most drowning deaths in New Zealand are preventable* and organisations such as Surf Life Saving NZ and Coastguard NZ, as well as many smaller ones rely on volunteers to keep people safe in our waters.
“First and foremost a preventable drowning is a tragedy for a family and a community” says Mills.
Volunteering is a free public service. The social and economic cost of drowning deaths alone to New Zealand is estimated at over $400 million dollars per annum.
Jonty Mills says WSNZ stands beside all volunteers across all sectors. “Our country and our communities simply wouldn’t function without them”.
“We understand first-hand their value, the passion they bring and the massive contribution they make across New Zealand. That’s why we should unite and acknowledge all volunteers this week”.
*Preventable drowning fatalities are those where water safety sector intervention could have had an influence (for example where the victim was boating, swimming, diving)