Since the very unfortunate shark attack in Jeffrey’s Bay last month, all the school children that WaterWise Instructor Marcus Oshry talks to have a renewed fear of sharks.
Trying to explain to a young child from an underprivileged school that sharks are not as dangerous as you think they are is difficult. All the learners wanted to hear about from Douglas Mbopa School were sharks and how they attack humans if they come anywhere near them.
After much discussion, I was able to steer the conversation away from the dangers of sharks and back to what causes children to drown.
When I told them that the most dangerous thing in the sea wasn’t a shark and that it was actually an uneducated child, I had their attention for a while.
The sea isn’t the problem. It is the individual who doesn’t understand the sea and doesn’t respect the sea who drowns. People who can’t recognise a Rip Current, who think that the Lifesavers flags are just there so that the lifesaver doesn’t have to work the whole beach but just a short section. The person who thinks that the part of the beach with the smaller waves is the safest place to swim. All these come back to one thing, we need to teach children, and adults, about rip currents. They are the most dangerous thing in the sea, not sharks.
You can learn more about rip currents here.
The WaterWise Academy is proudly sponsored by TNPA.