– Edited by Bev Mortimer –
The National Sea Rescue Institute’s Survival Swimming Pools are not only a first in South Africa but also in the world.
These swimming pools are built inside a specially equipped shipping container, which can be transported and installed anywhere in the country, in the right conditions.
And the first two of these mobile survival swimming pools , one in the Western Cape and the other in the Eastern Cape, have won the 2022 International Maritime Rescue Federation Award for Innovation and Technology.
And now three news ones are in the pipeline including one going to Barcelona! The other two are destined for the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces.
This is according to Dr Jill Fortuin, Executive Director of Drowning Prevention, who has set a target of 25 000 Survival Swimming lessons this year, in the hopes of drastically reducing the tragic drowning rates in the province.
Recently the Drowning Prevention team at NSRI installed a third at Duduzile Secondary School on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal province, near Port Shepstone, which has the highest rate of drowning incidents in the country.
The pools are the start of the NSRI’s initial vision of a heated indoor swimming pool that can be transported to virtually anywhere in the country – particularly places without access to adequate infrastructure – where children and adults can learn life-saving swimming skills.
Photos: Credit NSRI
“There is a lot to consider, logistics-wise,” says NSRI Drowning Prevention Manager Andrew Ingram.
Ingram has overseen the entire Survival Swimming Centre project, including the construction of the three centres, sponsorship and transport. Each pool is housed in a 12m x 4.7m shipping container converted and and supplied with cell reception, electricity and clean water sources. The containers are placed on level ground with room to manoeuvre a truck, and be accessible by roads that are in a decent condition.
“Every installation is a huge learning curve,” says Andrew, who recounts having to change locations if the initial planned sites are found to be unsuitable.
The third pool centre recently built near Port St Johns, he says, needed repairs to a water pipe that took almost a week to repair. At this centre a local NSRI Survival Swimming instructor, Nkazimulo Nyawose, overseas and ensures a clean, safe environment for students, teachers and locals to learn critical swimming skills in any weather conditions.
The NSRI Drowning Prevention team monitors the swimming pools remotely, with the assistance of a local instructor, to ensure hygiene and safety standards are maintained.
The NSRI says the construction, transport and maintenance of these Centres would not be possible without the support of local businesses, fundraisers and generous sponsors. The NSRI thanks Fluidra South Africa, Metalo, Boland Pools & Spas, Dibana Logistics, Delve Aquatic Systems, Pool Clear, Seaco International Shipping Containers, Pools for Africa, and Victron Energy for their generous support.