Over the long Easter weekends, a total of four separate drowning incidents occurred in New Zealand.

The first incident happened in the Chelsea Sugar Refinery Park in Chatswood, Auckland. A 55-year-old man who dived into the lake to rescue a dog from getting attacked by swans, was pronounced dead after multiple resuscitation attempts proved unsuccessful.

The second incident was at Waikato waterfall where a 27-year-old man drowned while swimming in the Waitemata Harbour. It occurred past midnight when the man and his friends decided to go for a swim in his underwear and t-shirt while fishing halfway. It went terribly wrong when the man became trapped underwater by the current. The paramedics spent 30 minutes trying to resuscitate the man but were unsuccessful in their attempt. His two other friends who were with him suffered from mild hypothermia. It was also suspected that alcohol had a part to play.

The third incident occurred in the West Coast when a man was swept off the rocks.

The last drowning took place in Charleston, about 20km south of Westport. The unfortunate victim was washed away by a wave. When his body was found, attempts were still made to revive him but to no avail. The area where he was washed off from has been experiencing strong tides.

We have always talked about how drowning can occur anywhere to anyone at any given time. These unfortunate weekend cases goes to show that one should always take precautions when he/she is in close proximity to open waters. Although we might not experience waves in Singapore like those in New Zealand, we should never take it for granted. It doesn’t matter whether we are swimming in New Zealand, Sentosa or East Coast Park. Regardless of the location, we have to always know our boundaries. It might be a long weekend and everyone wants to enjoy it, but there are some things that should always be observed when swimming. Firstly, always ensure that a lifeguard is on duty nearby. Secondly, always swim in areas where there are other people, so that they can provide assistance should you require any. Thirdly, never mix alcohol with swimming. We are all aware of the effects that derives from alcohol, thus, we shouldn’t risk our lives.

Lastly, it would be strongly recommended to arm yourself with knowledge and skills of the open waters. You can sign up for the Open Water SwimSafer Course by Happy Fish Swim School. This course enables you to learn more and experience it with a certified instructor. By attaining such skills, you could potentially help save your own life or that of another.