Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO, said: The drowning ratio may be as high as 70% inland and 30% coastal. NSRI, as part of our drowning prevention initiative, are working closely with the agencies responsible for gathering statistics to accumulate accurate National figures and accurate figures per region.
Children playing in and around water unsupervised by responsible adult supervision appears to be amongst the greatest cause of inland drownings at rivers, dams, lakes and swimming pools (although it appears that drownings in rivers, lakes and dams are the cause for the highest concern).
Sadly it can take only seconds before a fatal drowning occurs and we urge parents to ensure children have responsible adult supervision around water at all times.
Accidents in and around water and alcohol consumption when around water are most likely going to be determined to be of great concern.
For coastal waters and lagoons bathers visiting beaches and waterways where there are no lifeguards on duty appear to be the areas where coastal water drownings are most prevalent.
Collaboration between NSRI, Lifeguards, Emergency Services and Municipalities where beach marshals and lifeguards had the highest presence coupled with the parents own responsibility in ensuring that their families only visited beaches where and when lifeguards were on duty have without a doubt seen the greatest area of success this season. At some coastal beaches where drowning figures were high in past years this approach appears to have led to zero drownings this season.
As an example of the importance of working with all agencies at all levels in gathering accurate information it can be noted that while the NSRI attended to 37 fatal drownings around the country statistics gathered shows that in the Western Cape alone there were 41 fatal drownings over December.