Marlborough Water Safety


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Marlborough Water Safety

Marlborough is a beautiful coastal region that boasts one fifth of New Zealand’s coastline as well as numerous waterways. That makes this a great place to live, but it also means we must learn to respect the water – and to understand the importance of water safety.

Water Safety is not just vital for anyone out in a boat in the Marlborough Sounds or moored in one of our beautiful bays; it is also essential around creeks, rivers and swimming pools/spas.

Know before you go

The Water Safety Code consists of four simple rules to remember each time you venture near the water. It serves as a great starting point for planning a safe aquatic adventure.

Be prepared

  • Learn water safety skills.
  • Set rules for safe play in the water.
  • Always use safe and correct equipment and know the weather and water conditions before you get in.

Watch out for yourself and others

  • Always pay close attention to children you are supervising when in or near water.
  • Swim with others and in areas where lifeguards are present.

Be aware of the dangers

  • Enter shallow and unknown water feet first and obey all safety signs and warning flags.
  • DO NOT enter the water after drinking alcohol.

Know your limits

  • Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.
  • Learn safe ways of rescuing others without putting yourself in danger.

Water - live it

There are various water safety courses in Marlborough that you can take part in.

Stadium 2000
See Stadium 2000

CPR – St John
See St John

Learn to Sail
See learn to sail

Coastguard Boating Education
See boating education courses

Waikawa Dive Centre
See Waikawa Dive Centre

River crossing courses (as part of the Hunt Courses)
See Deerstalkers NZ

Other useful websites:

Cruise guide

Water Safety

Maritime NZ

Boating Education

Teach them early

Teach children to get comfortable in the water and swim at an early age and educate them early on about water safety.

Active supervision

Always actively supervise children, when they’re both in and around the water; ensure that pools are secured with appropriate barriers; and require children to swim within designated areas that are within sight of guardians and certified lifeguards.

Instruct children never to run, push or jump on others in and around the pool.

Life jackets

Ensure everyone wear life jackets and use proper water safety and flotation devices. Children should always wear a PFD (personal flotation device) that fits, whilst on a boat. Drownings often happen when people are not expecting to go in the water; life jackets are important for fishing too.


With any water comes risk and sadly every year far too many people lose their lives or are injured in, on or around the water. The tragedy is that most drownings and injuries are preventable.

Of the 105 drownings (both recreationally and otherwise) in New Zealand in 2017, 92 were preventable.

Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand – after motor vehicle accidents and falls.

Males are four times more likely to drown than females, and people across all age groups lose their life in the water.

Immersion incidents, where the victims had no intention of being in the water, remain the largest cause of drowning, followed by incidents where people simply went for a swim.