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New Zealand has an aging population and, despite falling drowning tolls in all other age groups (WSNZ, 2019c), older adults have continued to drown in both increasing numbers and proportion. The reasons for this are not well understood since very little drowning research has focused on older people. A water safety survey (N = 389) seeking information on older adults’ aquatic recreational practices and perceptions of safety was conducted at the end of the summer season, 2019. Most adults (86%, n = 335) reported some aquatic activity in the previous year, but those aged 65+ years (66%) were significantly less likely than younger age groups to engage in aquatic recreation. Respondents aged 65+ years were less likely (74%) to perceive they could swim more than five minutes non-stop. We discuss the implications of lower perceived swimming and floating competence and less frequent participation in aquatic activities on risk of drowning.