NSRI school holiday message: Be Water-Wise

WaterWise, the proactive educational arm of Sea Rescue, aimed at teaching water safety to children, asks parents to be particularly vigilant when they are with children near water over the upcoming school holidays.

WaterWise cautions children against swimming in dams, lagoons and especially rivers where the water may rise fast because of upstream rain. And children should be taught to never swim alone.

Crossing rivers and streams following rain is extremely dangerous, and as hard as it may be, it is best to wait for the water to subside.

This may take time … but it could also save a life.

Children should be taught never to dive into water, rather go in feet first, especially when water is not clear and it is hard to tell the depth. If at the beach they should be told to never turn their backs on the sea as an unexpected wave could sweep them off their feet.

If somebody gets into trouble in the water call for help at once. A few seconds can save a life– call the ambulance service on 10177 from a landline or cell phone from anywhere along the coast or if you are in Kwa–Zulu Natal call the Police on 10111 – Preferably find out what your nearest sea rescue emergency number is prior to going to the sea by looking up the emergency numbers on our web site.

Unless you are a very strong swimmer and have rescue flotation do not go into the water to “rescue” somebody. This could well land up in trained rescuers needing to help two or more people.. or worse.

If you have a flotation board handy and want to help someone in a rip current you can throw the board into the rip and the swimmer in difficulty can hold onto it as they get swept out to sea, while you call for help.

Adults should be aware of where their children are all the time and allow them to only swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and only between the lifeguards red and yellow flags.

The biggest danger to children at beaches are rip currents. If adults are unable to spot the rips, to keep swimmers safe, lifesavers will make sure that they are safe … so swim only within the safe demarcated swimming zones posted by lifeguards at beaches.

Learn more about rips here.

The WaterWise Academy is proudly sponsored by Transnet National Ports Authority ( TNPA) and has trained 212 206 children about water safety and how to do basic CPR  since inception of the project to the end of August 2012. 

Sea Rescue’s WaterWise Academy wishes everyone a safe holiday.