Novice swimmers (from left) Georgia Jeffrey (8), of Lake
Hayes Estate, Olivia Key (7), of Frankton, and Hannah
Mansfield (9), of Queenstown, were among 80 Wakatipu
primary and intermediate school-aged children who took part
in the ActivePost ''Have a Go Day'' at Alpine Aqualand,
Queenstown, this week.
Saving lives is the aim of the first International Water
Safety and Aquatic Education Conference this week in
Queenstown, which is leading the way in compulsory life jacket
Hosted by Water Safety New Zealand and Austswim, more than
300 delegates will hear guest speakers such as Jeff Hoedt,
chief of the United States coast guard boating safety
division, who oversees the guard's efforts at reducing
fatalities, injuries and property losses in recreational
Water Safety NZ chief executive Matt Claridge, of Wellington,
said Queenstown was one of only five locations in the country
with a bylaw requiring boat users to wear life jackets.
It was legislation Water Safety wanted applied throughout in
New Zealand to reduce the number of drowning deaths.
''We're rebuilding the water safety culture in New Zealand
and will take a couple of generations before we see drowning
statistics start to come down,'' Mr Claridge said.
The conference starts tomorrow and ends with a gala dinner on
Saturday night, where the winners of the 2013 Sealord New
Zealand Water Safety Awards will be announced.