DROWNING DEATHS Drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in New Zealand, after vehicle crashes and accidental falls. New Zealand has had an average of 105 drowning deaths per year over the past five years. 2011 had the worst record for drowning in the past eight years, with a total of 123 deaths – 41 per cent higher than 2010. So far this year 76 people have drowned.
With New Zealand's annual drowning toll one of the worst in the developed world and with more and more school pools in danger of closing, swim instructor Marlene Ingram is calling for volunteers to help reverse the trend, at least for Kaikoura's children.
Marlene has taught swimming to local children for close to four decades, and has always been involved in the Kaikoura Swimming Club, which has been going for the same amount of time. She is passionate about keeping the club going, and she hopes to breathe some life into it by calling for help.
The club has been in decline in recent years, but there were still about 100 children through the club last year, learning to swim or improving their skills.
If you are a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent who understands the vital importance of learning to swim, and have some time on your hands to help in any way, Marlene would love to hear from you.
People are invited to get involved on all levels, from administration and promotion to coaching, for which training is available. If her appeal is successful, regular meetings will be held with a view to running events such as club championships. In the past the club has also produced competitive swimmers who have gone off to compete outside the district.
Marlene said the club could survive only with the support of families and this is crucial to ensure children have the opportunity to learn water safety skills.
"It is incredibly important, especially here in Kaikoura," she said. "It would be sad to see the club fold after all the years it has been operating successfully."
Marlene is holding a meeting next Monday, November 19, to find out what interest there is in the community. All are welcome to the meeting, which will be held at Kaikoura Primary School at 7pm.
If you wish to get involved but can't make the meeting, Marlene can be contacted on 319 5759, evenings.
- © Fairfax NZ News