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Skills Active Aotearoa: New Zealand’s pool lifeguards highly qualified and well-supported

August 11, 2017

Claims that New Zealand pool lifeguards lack sufficient support and training to safely monitor swimmers simply don’t hold water, according Skills Active Aotearoa Chief Executive, Dr Grant Davidson.

Dr Davidson is responding to comments from David Speechley, President of the International Federation of Swimming Teachers' Associations, who said earlier this week that the New Zealand aquatics industry is placing swimmers at risk, and lifeguards are not adequately scanning pools for people in distress.

Dr Davidson highlights that as the industry training organisation for aquatics, Skills Active works closely with the sector to administer the national on-job training and registration system for pool lifeguards.

He emphasises that pool lifeguards undergo comprehensive practical training and assessment, aligned to the New Zealand Qualifications Framework, he says. Skills Active and aquatics peak body the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) regularly review pool lifeguard qualifications to ensure they reflect international good practice, and prepare lifeguards for the critical tasks they perform.

At the NZRA’s JAWS aquatic sector conference where Speechley was speaking, Skills Active launched the new foundation pool lifeguard qualification, fully updated and including the most recent recommendations from the NZ Resuscitation Council.

Dr Davidson added that Skill Active has completed the development stage of an advanced qualification for senior pool lifeguards, due for release in early 2018, which is eagerly anticipated by industry.

He commented “Mr Speechley argues that pool lifeguards should go through training once a year, and re-accreditation every three years. As it stands, New Zealand pool lifeguards already undergo a minimum of quarterly training, and must re-register for their Pool Lifeguard Practising Certificate every two years.

“We also question where Mr Speechley gets his data on drownings at public and resort pools in New Zealand.

“Water Safety NZ figures on council pools, privately-owned pool facilities, school pools and hotel/resort pools, show that total drownings at these types of facilities have averaged two per year over the last five years. They are not ‘continuing to rise’, as Mr Speechley puts it.”

Skills Active was pleased to see an immediate rebuttal of Speechley’s claims from NZRA, which oversees the industry’s PoolSafe quality management scheme.

Image courtesy of Skills Active Aotearoa.

10th August 2017 - NZRA: ‘NEW ZEALAND’S AQUATICS INDUSTRY AND POOL LIFEGUARDS ARE NOT FAILING’ 

9th August 2017 - IFSTA’S DAVID SPEECHLEY SUGGESTS POOL LIFEGUARDS ARE FAILING IN AQUATIC SAFETY 

29th May 2017 - NZRA INVITES NOMINATIONS FOR ANNUAL AQUATIC INDUSTRY AWARDS

21st April 2017 - ROYAL LIFE SAVING LAUNCHES NATIONAL AQUATIC INDUSTRY SAFETY AWARDS 

27th March 2017 - SKILLS ACTIVE LAUNCHES WORKFORCE PLANNING TOOLKIT FOR SPORT AND RECREATION EMPLOYERS

15th March 2017 - PICTON POOL BECOMES POOLSAFE 

14th December 2016 - SKILLS ACTIVE MAPS THE WAY FOR SPORT AND RECREATION CAREERS

24th October 2016 - BEST PRACTICE AQUATIC INDUSTRY GUIDELINES FROM THE NZRA

16th June 2016 - ROTORUA AQUATIC CENTRE PASSES POOLSAFE ACCREDITATION

31st January 2015 - DOWNWARD TREND IN NEW ZEALAND DROWNINGS

17th February 2014 - NEW ZEALAND’S BIG PICTURE OF ITS AQUATIC, RECREATION AND SPORT FACILITY NETWORK 


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