WaterWise Academy

WaterWise Instructor Percy Mthombeni teaches Soweto children about water safety and how to do CPR.

WaterWise Instructor Percy Mthombeni teaches school children in Soweto about water safety and how to do CPR.

The WaterWise Academy, teaching children water safety to prevent drowning tragedies since 2006.

We estimate that Nine double decker buses full of children drown each year.  We need to change the lives of children by giving them water safety lessons in a safe learning environment.
Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO estimates that in South Africa there are 2000 fatal drowning incidents of which 600 are children each year. We also conservatively believe that 10 times the number above suffer some form of hypoxic brain injury from non-fatal drowning incidents, with associated social and economic knock on effects, as reported in various studies and scientific journals. We therefore estimate that approximately 20 000 people suffer from fatal and non-fatal drowning each year”.

The non-fatal drowning rate varies from 2 – 50 times the number of fatal drownings in various reports, and countries. We believe that a figure of 10 times the fatal drownings for SA is conservative.

According to the Medical Research Council, those most at risk of drowning are children from poor communities. The highest incidence of drowning is in fresh water, farm dams swimming pools and rivers.


Saving Lives, Changing Lives:
Our WaterWise Academy Instructors prevent drowning tragedies through education. We 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. Watch a video on the WaterWise Academy here.

We have taught over 1 300 000 children since 2006. Our 14 Instructors and 9 volunteer Instructors are based around the country and visit classrooms in disadvantaged communities.  You can see a breakdown of our statistics here.

Soweto based WaterWise Instructor Kenneth Gagela teaches children the WaterWise PLAN.

Soweto based WaterWise Instructor Kenneth Gagela teaches children the WaterWise PLAN.

We need your help:

The WaterWise Academy needs to reach more children. Our current challenge is to source the funding to train more Instructors. Six of our WaterWise Academy Instructors are proudly sponsored by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and two by Santam.

WaterWise Academy Partnership Opportunities:

Sponsor a WaterWise Academy Instructor per annum R 236 470 (2017), R 260 110 (2018) and R286 130 (2019)

A donation towards the WaterWise Academy can assist us in funding a WaterWise Instructor for example a donation of R59 117 would sponsor a WaterWise Academy Instructor for a term.

Optional add on sponsorships: Branded materials, safety signage (quotation on request)

Funders are afforded SARS 18A benefits, BEE benefits and use of the Proud Sponsor Logo.

To assist with funding please contact us on info@searescue.org.za or call 021 434 4011

Some facts on Drowning:

Once someone starts to drown, the outcome is often fatal. Unlike other injuries, survival is determined almost exclusively at the scene of the incident, and depends on two highly variable factors: how quickly the person is removed from the water, and how swiftly proper resuscitation is performed.

World health Rankings accessed:18/8/2016) maintains that South Africa is 81st on the world list of number of drownings by rate – using using 2014 published World Health Organisation data and a rate of 4 / 100 000. This works out to an estimated 2226 drowning fatalities, using the 2016 census above.

Zanele WaterWise

Zanele Bushwane teaches Nyanga children Hands On CPR.