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In South Africa during 2016 – 2021 the highest number of drownings occurred in freshwater with 3713 drownings reported, dispelling the myth that most drownings occur in the ocean.

Dr. Jill Fortuin, Executive Director of Drowning Prevention Services at the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is happy to announce that the NSRI’s water safety programme is fully activated in all nine provinces in South Africa. "As the NSRI, our purpose is to save lives, change lives and create futures not only in certain areas but in all regions of South Africa. As the Drowning Prevention Department, our mandate is to improve knowledge, attitude, and behaviour with regards to drownings. “Dr Fortuin states.

The NSRI’s Drowning Prevention Department has three focus areas which are Research and Advocacy, Technology and Innovation, and Education and Training. The age group & province where most of the drownings occurred, is in the 0-4 age category in the Northern Cape.

We have appointed Drowning Prevention Instructors in additional Provinces including the Free State, Mpumalanga, North -West and Limpopo. While our focus is primary and secondary school learners, we have included those employed in the agriculture sector, persons working in and around water and Regional Disaster Management organizations. These communities are vulnerable to drownings in farm dams, rivers, and streams and without formal swimming skills people too often find themselves in trouble,” adds Jill.

Brett Ayres, Director of Rescue Services also adds that the organization has added 16 rescue bases in 8 of the 9 provinces since 2013, as well as extensively upgrading the rescue response capability in terms of skills, assets & networks in most of the other stations.

This is in addition to our lifeguarding services and footprint, as well as upskilling our swift water rescue capability at stations around the country “We have added this capability because of the incident and rescue trends in these areas. We are also planning to add a rescue base in Limpopo Province, based at Tzaneen in the coming year or two, which will mean we have a rescue response in all 9 provinces.” he says.

“We are encouraging the community in those provinces especially the schools to kindly open their doors to our instructors as we would like to continue to make South Africa a water safe nation”, concludes Dr Fortuin.

Media Queries:

Contact: Kuhle Mkize

Email: kuhle@searescue.org.za | Cell: 066 099 5777

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