Restraint urged when near the water

Water Safety NZ CEO Jonty Mills. Supplied image.

Ahead of the first weekend at Level 3 with some restrictions around aquatic recreation lifted, Water Safety New Zealand is urging people to use restraint.

“New Zealanders generally did a great job during Level 4 of adhering to the lockdown protocols,” says CEO Jonty Mills.

“We understand people will be looking forward to getting back into water based activities, and that’s great news for everyone, but we want everyone to use caution.

“Before, during and after COVID-19 our physical waterways remain the same and our underlining messages also remain the same. They are welcoming and inviting but can be unpredictable and unforgiving. People need to respect that and make wise decisions, in support of the alert level 3 restrictions.”

The government’s advice during Level 3 is as follows:

Water-based activities are discouraged where they would expose participants to danger or require search and rescue services.

• Water-based activities involving sailing boats, powerboats, motorised craft such as jet skis, or equipment, or scuba diving are not allowed.

• Maintain physical distancing with people outside your bubble.

• Remain within your current abilities and don’t pick up new activities.

“It’s all about limiting risk and keeping people safe including our emergency services,” says Jonty.

Comprehensive guidance on what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to outdoor recreation including water based activities can be found at

“The thinking here is people who already take part in this type of activity are allowed to go back to it, it doesn’t mean picking up a surfboard for the first time.

“You need to stay in your bubble and in your region and practice physical distancing and make water safety a top priority.”

If you decide to return to a water based activity during Level 3 WSNZ wants everybody to remember the water safety code:

Be prepared

Watch out for yourself and others

Be aware of the dangers

Know your limits

“These are the critical messages for people to remember at all times when it comes to water safety,” says Jonty.

“Do not overdo it. Stay within your limits and don’t go out alone. We don’t want to see a surge in rescues for our frontline services. The most critical thing still is stopping the spread of this virus.”

People are also reminded that Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguards are no longer on patrol, so beaches with big swells, strong currents and rips should be avoided.

“Only get in the water when conditions are calm. Check the forecast and only go back to what you know. Now is not the time to take up a new aquatic activity or explore a new area” says Jonty.

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Posted on 01-05-2020 14:57 | By morepork

I hear you. It IS annoying to have to comply with a "Nanny State". But ask yourself WHY these detailed rules are presented; it’s because there are still a percentage of selfish and/or foolish people who CAN’T do the things you mentioned without a bad result. (Often for others as well as themselves...) Living in a Community sometimes means having to go with the Lowest Common Denominator, and it IS tiresome and tedious for the responsible majority who are perfectly capable of looking after themselves. The only solace I can offer is: "Hang in there. In a few more weeks we should see normality being restored". Meanwhile we need to listen to "Nanny"... :-)

Dumbing down

Posted on 30-04-2020 21:48 | By M@M

I am so sick of these petty prescriptive measures issued for our benefit. For the love of goodness,we can look after ourselves. We can go out on our biars without sinking. Ride our bikes without crashing go for swim without drowning. If we do ,tough. That’s life, but this dumbing down is driving me nuts