Sea Rescue has issued beach safety tips for the holidays.
Sea Rescue and Lifesaving SA work together with all other rescue services to reduce the number of drownings in South Africa.
Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO says: “The number of children who drown each year would fit into nine double decker buses – that is horrific and we all need to work together to keep our children safe. The highest incidence of drowning is in fresh water, farm dams, swimming pools and rivers.”
Sea Rescue’s WaterWise Academy visits schools to teach children how to avoid danger in or near water, what to do in an emergency, who to call for help, how to do peer rescue and Hands On CPR. The interactive presentation is given on school premises at no charge. We have taught over 1 million children, around the country, to date.
Sea Rescue recommends the following safety tips for the holidays.
The most important tip is only swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. Swim between their flags.
Have a plan in place to prevent panic
- Make sure you have emergency numbers saved in your cell phone. Dial 112 from any cell phone in any emergency
- Put the local Sea Rescue number in your phone too
- Check the wind, weather and tides
- Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, make sure they know your route
- When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks – never ever turn your back on the sea
- If you are paddling or on a boat download NSRI’s free SafeTrx app http://www.nsri.org.za/safetrx
Teach your children and yourself about rip currents:
- Rip currents are the greatest cause of drowning accidents along our coast.
- A rip current looks like a calm patch of water but is a river of water flowing fast out to sea against the incoming waves.
- If you are caught in a rip-current you’ll be swept out to sea faster than you’re able to swim towards the shore.
- Don’t panic or try to swim against the current.
- As tough as this sounds, let the current take you out to sea.
- Raise one arm in the air and wave to alert people on the shore that you’re in trouble.
- At the first chance you get … swim parallel to the beach until you’re free of the rip, then use the incoming waves to aid your progress to get back to shore.
Don’t get into trouble by trying to help someone else:
- If you see someone in difficulty in the water, don’t try and rescue them.
- Throw the person something that floats and call 112 from your cellphone for help.
- Always watch over your children while they are swimming. Children should never be left alone near any water.