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World Drowning Prevention Day (WDPD) is being marked on 25 July 2022.

The Royal Life Saving Society New Zealand (RLSSNZ) says this is an important and memorable day not only for the drowning prevention community worldwide but for those families who have sadly lost loved ones through drowning.

Commonwealth Royal Life Saving Societies are united as one voice to raise awareness that 'anyone can drown, no one should', says RLSSNZ President,  Marie Baker, ONZM.

"Drowning took the lives of over 2.5 million people in the last decade and the vast majority of those deaths could have been prevented.

"Drowning affects every nation of the world – though its impact is disproportionate. 90 percent of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with Asia carrying the highest burden." says Baker.

In April 2021, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the first ever Resolution on drowning prevention, acknowledging the issue for the first time in its 75-year history. New Zealand, along with over 80 countries worldwide, including Australia and some Pacific Nations, co-sponsored this historic resolution, which was initiated by Bangladesh and Ireland.

Drowning is a preventable public health problem. According to the World Health Organisation, (WHO), annual global stats indicate 236,000 people die by drowning with over half being younger than 30 years. Drowning is one of the ten leading causes of death for young people 1 - 24 years.

“Drowning is a tragedy for those families who have lost a loved one. As an organisation dedicated to saving lives in, on and around water, the RLSSNZ takes positive and practical action to promote and teach people water safety skills to help keep Kiwis safe around water”, says Baker.

"The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) is a global leader and partner in the delivery of water safety education and water rescue and resuscitation training. The RLSSNZ provides expertise in the development of community-based drowning prevention strategies, the design of lifesaving education programmes, and the establishment of aquatic safety standards."

The Bronze Medalion, the globally recognised life guard qualification is delivered to hundreds of young people throughout New Zealand, thanks to RLSSNZ which has a team of qualified instructors and assessors across the country.

Todd Morton, owner of Easyswim, Wellington and Bronze Medallion instructor says "Giving children and young people water confidence means they can learn vital water safety and swimming skills to help them enjoy the water throughout their life."

Easyswim runs a comprehensive Water Safety programme giving participants confidence in many lifesaving situations, at every lesson. Children learn survival skills and strokes, learn about rip currents, and use lifesaving tools such a life jackets and other floatation devices.


For more information:

Visit for the World Health Organisation information

Visit for programme information.

For New Zealand Drowning Statistics visit Water Safety New Zealand website

For interviews contact Marie Baker, ONZM. Phone (06)343 2677

To contact Todd Morton, Easyswim, phone Miranda McLaughlin, Marketing & Communications Manager on 04 234 7946 or email


About Marie Baker ONZM

Ms Marie Baker has been involved with New Zealand Lifesaving with more than 55 years’ experience and has taught swimming throughout New Zealand for more than 25 years.

In 2006 Ms Baker was made President of the Royal Life Saving Society’s Whanganui Branch and in 2012 became President of Royal Life Saving Society New Zealand (RLSSNZ), a role she continues to hold. After the destruction of the RLSSNZ’s national headquarters in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake she undertook the challenge of rebuilding the Society, forming a new Board of experienced personnel in late 2011. She has led RLSSNZ’s partnerships with Swimming New Zealand, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, and Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ). As the Society’s delegate to WSNZ from 2012 she contributed to the development of WSNZ’s integrated sector plan to reduce drowning nationally. She was made an Honorary Vice President of the Commonwealth Life Saving Society in 2014. She has been a swim tutor for Swimming New Zealand since 1994. Ms Baker received her first award for lifesaving in 1959 and has since held roles as an instructor, field officer, education officer, secretary, chief examiner, and has travelled the country teaching the discipline to others over the course of her career.

Royal Life Saving Society raises awareness of World Drowning Prevention Day

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