Water safety promotion kicking off for summer

Published on 17 November 2023

Water safety family fun day event Facebook tile

As the summer season approaches, Whanganui District Council and Safer Whanganui are gearing up to promote water safety through two initiatives – a water safety family fun day and a video competition for local students.

Water safety family fun day

The community event will be held on Sunday, 26 November, from 12 noon to 3.00pm at Castlecliff Beach, and aims to provide guidance on keeping whānau safe in and around water. Lauren Tamehana, the council’s community wellbeing manager, emphasises the importance of understanding water safety, especially with little ones in tow.

"New Zealanders cherish spending summer by the water. We want to enable everyone to understand the risks and considerations of water safety, particularly families with young children," says Lauren Tamehana.

Families can look forward to a variety of activities, including a free barbecue, demonstrations by the Surf Lifesaving Club, UV bead making, beach volleyball, cricket, tug of war and other beach games (with prizes to be won). Civil Defence, Coastguard, the council and the Cancer Society will be present, along with ACC’s The Thinker statue which encourages people to consider their actions and prioritise safety while having fun in the water. Head to the Facebook event page to keep up-to-date.

Video competition

Along with the family fun day, Whanganui school age students are invited to participate in a video competition. Tamariki and rangatahi can create and submit videos about safe swimming practices, with the chance to win prizes.

"Videos need to include our safety messaging on the Awa, the beach, home swimming pools or the Castlecliff wharf. We're excited to see the creative entries that come our way." For details on how to participate, such as safety messages to include in your video, keep an eye on the council Facebook page, and see messaging and the bottom of the page. 

Note that swimming at the Whanganui port site is currently banned due to ongoing construction. Those who live in the area are encouraged to head to Castlecliff Beach instead – and swim between the flags.

Lauren Tamehana says it’s that time of year when people start thinking about buying a pool for their backyard.

“If you do have a pool at home I’d encourage you to check out the Residential Pools page on the council website so you know you’re following the rules to keep children safe.

“The council page has all the information you need on home pools, including when you need a fence and pool consents.” Visit: Residential pools Whanganui District Council


Safe swim messages

Whanganui River

Check the water’s depth – water levels change from day to day.

Look out for hidden logs or debris when diving and swimming.

You can use the pontoons as long as you keep clear of rowers getting boats in and out of the water.

Keep clear of boats.



Swim between the flags! Lifeguards are out with flags from 12 noon to 6.00pm over summer.

Watch out for rips – they can look like:

  • brown water from stirred-up sand
  • a smoother surface with waves breaking either side
  • debris floating out to sea
  • or a rippled look when the water around is calm.


Castlecliff Wharf

No swimming at Castlecliff Wharf – it’s dangerous!

Head to Castlecliff Beach instead and swim between the flags.


Home pools

Tamariki under five years old and learners need to be actively supervised around water – keep them within arm’s reach.

Make sure other children are within your sight at all times.

Make sure your pool has a fence if it’s meant to have one – check out the Residential Pools page on the Whanganui District Council website.

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