More Kiwi Kids Equipped to Swim and Survive as Sealord Swim for Life Turns Five


National water safety initiative celebrates 5 years of teaching kids to swim.

More than 240,000 Kiwi kids have taken part in 3.5 million Sealord Swim for Life lessons in an effort to reduce the nation’s high drowning toll as the country-wide initiative celebrates five years today.

Drastic improvements have been made across a variety of water safety markers, with more New Zealand children becoming water confident, and learning the vital skills needed to swim and survive.

At the beginning of the nationwide initiative – which began in 2010 as a joint venture between Sealord and Water Safety New Zealand – just 20% of Year 6 (10-year-old) children could swim 50m to safety. Today, the number has more than doubled to 52%, while 28% (up from 8% in 2010) of 10-year-olds can swim 200m.

The initiative works by engaging regional partners to get water safety lessons up and running by subsidising swimming lessons, meeting transport costs, and helping facilitate everything New Zealand schools need to get kids in the water.

Over five years, 23 regional sports trusts and local organisations have helped implement the programme to the 244,452 children involved. In Southland and Napier, every primary school aged child now receives subsidised swimming lessons, while in Otago and Northland, most of the region’s children have access to the programme. In Tauranga, all schools without a swimming pool have access to swim and survive lessons for years 4-6 students.

Water Safety New Zealand Chief Executive Matt Claridge says Sealord Swim for Life is the single biggest privately funded learn to swim initiative in the country. It’s a huge achievement to reach the five year anniversary and to have reached this number of children.”

“More than 240,000 Kiwi kids being delivered free learn to swim sessions is a huge achievement and without Sealord’s support it would not be possible.”

Sealord spokesperson Stu Yorston says the company’s support of Sealord Swim for Life is a natural fit.

“Enjoying the water is an important part of life for New Zealanders and as a company that’s business revolves around the sea, we’re delighted to help keep kiwi kids safe in, on and around the water.”

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