We’ve compiled a list of important safety tips for all water users to bear in mind, not just for the holiday season, but also for every time you’re planning a day at the beach or going out on the water to enjoy some time paddling, sailboarding, fishing or boating.
Lifeguards are only on duty at selected beaches. The times that they are on duty vary from beach to beach so it’s important to find out local information pertaining to when they will be on duty. Listen to the lifeguards’ advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. If lifeguards are not on duty, do not swim. And don’t ever be tempted to swim on an unfamiliar or deserted beach while on a road trip.
If you swim between the lifeguard flags, the lifeguards will be watching you very carefully and can help if there is a problem. Just wave your arm if you need help. Share this information with your grown children but never leave minors unsupervised.
Being physically impaired in water is very dangerous, as you’ll be more inclined to take risks you normally wouldn’t; you could pass out or injure yourself and drown.
If you are with a buddy while swimming, there is someone who can call for help if you need it and are unable to wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.
If you see someone in difficulty, call a lifeguard at once or dial the nearest NSRI station (click here to find and save the number in your phone) or 112 from your cellphone. After calling for help, try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. If there is a Pink Rescue Buoy in close proximity, this can be used as flotation until help arrives. If you do ever attempt a bystander rescue, do so only if you can swim AND are able to take flotation with you. Tell someone on the beach to call 112 before you go in.
Lightweight inflatables should not be used at the beach or on dams where currents and wind can blow them – and the person on them – offshore. They are extremely dangerous, and should only be used where intended i.e. a swimming pool, and only under adult supervision.
While you are looking after children in or near water, you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cellphone. It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time. Remember – drowning is silent.
Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water. Only use child-safe pool fences and child-safe pool covers or nets.
Dial 112 in the event of an emergency.
WHY? Any delay in calling for help could have fatal results. The NSRI should be contacted if the person expected home is late and is unreachable.
WHY? If a kayak or kitesurf is found washed up onshore, with no person near it, the number can be called to establish if the user is safe. If the user cannot be reached, the next of kin can be phoned for more information.
WHY? It will be easier for rescuers to see you if they are searching for you at night.
WHY? SafeTrx takes the ‘search’ out of search and rescue. It’s much easier for the NSRI to locate you. Alerts are received by the NSRI’s Emergency Operations Centre and the trained team will be able to effect a search immediately. Find the SafeTrx app here.
WHY? In case you become separated from your vessel, your phone will still be with you.
WHY? Rescuers will tell you that, without an accurate location, it can be difficult to locate casualties in heavy swells and over the noise of wind and water. Casualties may hear or see rescuers and the referee whistle is a brilliant way to draw attention to where you are.
WHY? These flares can be used to help locate you. Use the first flare when you realise you need help. Wait five minutes, then set off the second flare. Wait half an hour, then set off number 3. Hold on to the remainder until it gets dark. Set off number 4, then save the fifth for when you see a vessel approaching. Other useful safety equipment includes a signalling mirror and a fully charged torch.
WHY? Being bright makes you more visible in the ocean.
Multiple incidents in and around Cape TownRead More
NSRI Gordons Bay duty crew were activated following eyewitness reports of a drowning in progress at a beach next to Gordons Bay Main Beach (next to the Gordons Bay Naval Base). ...
NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from 3 South African men on a sailing yacht reporting to be caught in heavy seas off-shore of Richards Bay motoring with one of their two motors after ...
NSRI Gqeberha duty crew were activated following a Mayday distress call, intercepted by TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) Port of Port Elizabeth Port Control and by Telkom Maritime Radio Services, from a local supply motor vessel, with 3 local crew ...