WaterWise, the educational arm of Sea Rescue, aimed at teaching water safety to children, asks parents to be particularly vigilant over the Easter weekend.
The long term weather prediction for most of the country during the weekend is for rain. WaterWise cautions children against swimming in dams, lagoons and especially rivers where the water may rise fast because of upstream rain.
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 somebody gets into trouble in the water call for help – 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.
If you have a flotation board handy you can throw the board into a rip-current and the swimmer in difficulty can try to reach the floatation board as it gets swept out to sea.
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 their red and yellow flags.
The biggest danger to children at beaches are rip currents ( Spring tide is this weekend, making the rips even stronger than usual) and if parents are unable to spot the rips, lifesavers will make sure that swimmers are safe … so swim within the safe demarcated swimming zones posted by lifeguards at beaches.
Learn more about rips here.
NSRI wish all a safe Easter weekend.