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NZ aquatics industry and pool lifeguards not failing, says NZRA

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) have responded to claims by World President of IFSTA, David Speechley, that the NZ aquatics industry is failing pool lifeguards and placing swimmers at risk.

"We do not agree with Mr Speechleys claims" says NZRA CEO Andrew Leslie. "He has not cited where his data is coming from. According to the most recent figures from Water Safety NZ, public pool drownings in New Zealand (which includes council facilities, privately owned facilities and pools within schools and the accommodation sector) have occurred at an average of two per year over the last five years and are certainly not ‘continuing to rise’. "

Mr Speechley accuses the NZ aquatics industry of a ‘lack of rigour, assessment and continual improvement in public pool lifeguarding’, which Mr Leslie says is inaccurate.

"We work in conjunction with Skills Active, who provide a government standard qualification system. Training and qualifications are reviewed against international standards and we are comfortable that our system stacks up. We don’t stand still, we are constantly looking for continuous improvements".

Mr Speechley questions what is being done to achieve better supervision and claims that pool lifeguards are ill-prepared and unsupported. Mr Leslie responded "Through our Poolsafe system we monitor and update supervision standards. Poolsafe is an industry led, voluntary management system designed by the industry for the industry. It enables peer to peer assessment and moderates the delivery of public aquatic facilities services, with the direct intent to limit serious harm to their communities."

"Lifeguards receive regular ongoing training, a minimum of once every quarter, and are required to re-register every two years and complete first aid training to remain working as a lifeguard."

Mr Leslie ended by commending the dedication of NZ public pool lifeguards. "The commitment and passion that we witness from lifeguards in this country is incredible and we should be proud of their continuing efforts to provide safety and support".

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