A ‘Swim Reaper’ who patrols the beaches in New Zealand has become an Instagram sensation — but the account is more than just a viral joke

Swim Reaper.

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Swim Reaper.
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Instagram @iamtheswimreaper

  • Instagram account “The Swim Reaper” has gained nearly 100,000 followers for his or her humorous images patrolling the beaches of New Zealand
  • However, the account is actually an effort by Water Safety New Zealand to help prevent water-related deaths among men between 15 and 30.

From parody fitness accounts to pilots or elderly couples who wear matching outfits, we’ve seen some pretty unique personalities gain traction on Instagram.

But a ‘Swim Reaper’ who patrols the beaches of New Zealand might just be the most arresting.

The Instagram account @iamtheswimreaper has nearly 100,000 followers, and a description that states: “Just lovin life. lol. Nah, jokes. Lookin to reap some peeps this summer. If ur gonna make dumb decisions in the water, I’ll be waiting. Holla!”

The “Reaper” posts dark but humorous images manning the sandy shores while watching over the Kiwi beachgoers – but the account is more than a viral joke.

According to The Sun, The Swim Reaper is a campaign by Water Safety New Zealand to warn people about the risk of drowning in the run-up to summer, using the tagline “Swim dumb and you’re done.”

It’s aimed at the most at-risk age group: Young men aged 15 to 30.

The “Swim Reaper” is often seen sitting in lifeguard chairs…

…and appears to do a good job of looking out over the beachgoers – particularly the young men, who reportedly account for a third of all fatal incidents annually in New Zealand despite only making up 14% of the population.

They say one in every two guys is a dumbass. I’m going with red shirt #everybreathyoutake #everymoveyoumake #illbewatchingyou

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

It’s not just beaches, either – the Reaper also been seen “reapin’ the waterfalls with his ‘trusty steed.'”

#tbt reapin’ the waterfalls with my trusty steed #giddyup #mypony #squadgoals⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

He or she puts up signs…

This new sign is working a treat! People are so gullible #alternativefacts #posttruth #makedrowninggreatagain

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

…Some of which are more motivational than others.

Lol #justbeingbasic

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

The Reaper also has business cards on hand.

Hey, I just met you and this is crazy… But here's my number. So call me maybe? ☎️ #reaplinebling

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

He or she has been seen selling jeans as “swimming trunks” – a sure way to sink.

The Reaper’s main weapon appears to be a water gun.

In between watching out over the beach-goers, he or she finds time for ice cream…

Goody goody dumb drops! My fave. #icecream #youscream⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

Tanning…

Beach yoga…

…And sometimes some beach volleyball.

The account remains lighthearted on purpose, though.

U can’t touch this… da na na na… na na… na na… #hotstepper⠀

A post shared by The Swim Reaper (@iamtheswimreaper) on

According to The Sun, Jonty Mills, CEO of Water Safety New Zealand, said: “A lot of these drownings [of young men] are what we would describe as preventable fatalities. Lives would be saved if young males simply made smarter decisions around water.

“However, this audience can react badly to being told what to do – it is a struggle to get positive safety messages through to them.

“Through the Swim Reaper’s dark humour, he illustrates the deadly consequences of making bad decisions around water.”