Water Skills for Life

Mar Comms Highlight 3 310522

Water Skills for Life is a water skills-based programme incorporating 27 core skills for life-long water safety comprising seven areas of water survival competencies.  

Students are expected to have achieved all competencies by the time they enter secondary school as these skills are crucial for the safe lifelong enjoyment of aquatic activities in a range of environments.

Water Skills for Life objectives:

  • To ensure that all children in Years 1 – 8 in New Zealand acquire water safety competencies by learning Water Skills for Life. 
  • To foster an intergenerational culture change and lifelong water safety learnings by delivering Water Skills for Life to improve children’s ability to keep themselves safe in, on and around the water. 

For more information about what is covered, visit WaterSkills.org

Water Skills for Life Funding

Since its inception in 2011, over 1.38 million lessons have been delivered impacting over 100,000 school-aged tamariki across Tāmaki Makaurau.

In partnership with CLM Community Sport, Harbour Sport, Sport Auckland, and Sport Waitākere, Aktive coordinates Water Skills for Life funding for: 

  • Decile 1 to 6 schools, years 3 to 6 students
  • Kura Kaupapa Māori, all year level students
  • Specialist (Disability) Schools (deciles 1-10), all year level students.

For eligible schools/kura, this covers 8-10 professionally delivered Water Skills for Life lessons to help tamariki keep themselves safe in, on and around water.

Deliver Water Skills for Life lessons at your school

Water Skills for Life lessons can also be taught by any teacher in a school pool and classroom.

To give teachers confidence and the necessary knowledge about aquatic education, free professional development is available through Swimming New Zealand, or with Drowning Prevention Auckland.

Find out more. 

There are also a number of free resources:

Apply for Water Skills for Life funding

A limited amount of funding is available to cover the provision of 8-10 professionally delivered Water Skills for Life lessons for tamariki at eligible schools and kura.

Find funding information here.



"Students who were not confident in swimming or had ever swum before looked forward to their lessons, and now have knowledge of how to be smart in the water."


- Teacher


A highlight of lessons was "seeing how adaptive the school was with instructors and classes been in isolation due to COVID-19 and the school still being really engaged with the programme and the kids really enjoying being in the water." 


- Water Skills for Life Provider



Funding Partners of Water Skills for Life

  • Aktive Auckland Council
  • Untitled Design (29)
  • Aktive Water Safety NZ