Coast Guard Auckland urge people to take care of families

By Renee Kahukura-Iosefa
  • Auckland

With 11 deaths by drowning this summer holiday period, Coast Guard Auckland has issued a stern safety warning urging people to take care of their families.  Whether you are boating or swimming, at the beach, river or swimming pool, take caution and keep water safe.

Coast Guard is a charity that saves lives at sea.  They're running an "Old for New" campaign to help people trade in old life jackets for a discount on a new one.

Georgie Smith says, “It's great people are starting to take their safety out on the water seriously and ensure they have a life jacket.  The tag line for the campaign is wear a life jacket, it's never ruined a day out on the water and every word of that is true.”

According to Ray Burge, “The skipper needs to take charge of everyone.  Life jackets, it's important they wear them, keep an eye on the marine weather.”

Imogen Mataafi, who died on Christmas day, is one of those who died.  The 17-month-old drowned in a swimming pool at her home.  

Just recently, Ōtaki man Christopher Wichman drowned in the Pātea River after managing to save his niece.

Coast Guard Craig Houkamo says, “When incidents occur, when death is involved, it hits everyone.”

There were two fatalities last week when a boat overturned trying to cross the Manukau bar.

“Safe boating is not just one thing, it's not just life jackets, it's not just communications, it's a whole package that will keep you safe,” says Ray Burge.

Coast Guard says these accidents are stern reminders to always keep your family safe.