Queenstown will host an international conference on water
safety next October as Water Safety New Zealand continues a
campaign to reduce New Zealand's drowning rate by encouraging
young people to learn to swim.
Behind road accidents and accidental falls, drowning is the
country's third-highest cause of unintentional death,
according to Water Safety New Zealand.
The International Water Safety and Aquatic Education
Conference, scheduled for October 3-5, 2013, will be attended
by more than 300 delegates. It will cover a range of
initiatives, concepts, research and programmes related to
water safety and aquatic education.
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Matt Claridge, who
was in Queenstown last week to plan for the event, said
Queenstown's high tourist numbers meant "ongoing" education
"One of the primary interactions is going to be signage," he
said, before noting councils around the country were often
averse to installing more signs.
"In my view, there should be more."
A key approach in water safety has been teaching children to
swim through Water Safety's Swim and Survive programme and Mr
Claridge said funding was close to being finalised to launch
the initiative in the Queenstown Lakes.
The programme gives children 10 free swimming lessons a year,
a number which Mr Claridge hopes to increase.