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Lifejackets and life lessons for Onehunga children

Expanding children's water safety skills in Onehunga

Published: 5 March 2020

Thanks to a grant from Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Board, the Onehunga War Memorial Pools are now incorporating the safe use of life jackets into swimming lessons and boat safety sessions. 

“Safety on water is paramount for our communities” explains Chris Makoare Chair of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board, the area where the Onehunga suburb is located.

“The Board is a firm supporter of programmes which help improve water safety awareness. We have some great beaches in our area as well as popular boating areas, so it just makes sense for us to support lifejacket education."

"As part of our swim school we teach kids about life jackets, we hope that they’ll never need them in a real-life situation of course, but if needed these lessons should help them to not panic,” explains Gillian Moore, Swim Instructor at Onehunga War Memorial Pools.

“We start by showing everyone how to put on their jacket correctly, with the smaller kids we tell them it should be tight like a squeezy cuddle from Mum or Dad."

"We advise that a lifejacket must always be worn when on boats, paddleboards etc.  We also show them how to signal for help and how to get into an individual huddle and a group huddle to keep warm in cold water”.

Children are taught in increasingly deep water so that they learn to rely on the lifejackets for buoyancy.  For some, a raft or boat is bought into the pools and students are provided with a scenario of falling from a boat. 

“It’s great to watch kids respond as they have been taught, we know that they leave the course with skills that hopefully are with them for life”. 

  • The YMCA Onehunga War Memorial Pool is located at 1 Park Gardens Lane, Onehunga
  • Information about Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board grant opportunities can be found on the council website.

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