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.
- Children should be told that they must never swim alone.
- 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. 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.
- When at the beach, children should be taught never turn their backs on the sea as an unexpected wave could sweep them off their feet.
- 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 (or anything else that floats) and want to help someone in a rip current you can throw the board into the rip, it will be carried out to the person in difficulty, and he or she can hold onto it, while you call for help.
- The biggest danger to children at beaches are rip currents. It is difficult to identify a rip current but lifesavers will demarcate safe swimming zones between red and yellow flags.
- Adults should be aware of where their children are all the time and allow them to only swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty in demarcated areas.
- 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 or if you are in KwaZulu-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.
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 in 2006 to the end of August 2012.