8 Jan 2014

Drowning toll lower than last holidays

9:01 am on 8 January 2014

Water Safety New Zealand says the number of drownings over the Christmas-New Year period was lower than same period a year before - five compared to eight - but was still too high.

The organisation's chief executive, Matt Claridge, said while the death toll is coming down the message is not getting through to everyone .

He said the most problematic group is males aged 25 and over who often compromise safety by fishing when weather and sea conditions are not right and their gear and safety equipment is not up to scratch.

Mr Claridge says many more people could have drowned had it not been for the good work of lifeguards and the Coastguard.