Water Skills for Life

Mar Comms Highlight 3 310522

Water Skills for Life

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


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: 

  • Equity Index 420 and greater, years 3-6 students
  • Kura Kaupapa Māori, all year level students
  • Specialist (Disability) Schools (Equity Index 420 and greater), 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.


Applications Open (Terms 1-4 2024)

Available funds will be allocated on a first-in, first-served basis to schools and kura within the greater Auckland area, excluding those within the Old Manukau City Council boundaries which are covered by The John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation.

Note: A signed Funding Agreement must be completed prior to lessons commencing. Funding will not be provided if lessons are provided without a signed Funding Agreement.

Click here for EOI

Expression of interest


School Lesson Delivery

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.



Please find WSFL Infographics as well as other resources below:

Teacher Feedback


"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."

Provider Feedback


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." 

Funding Partners of Water Skills for Life

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