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The 25th of July is observed as World Drowning Prevention Day (WDPD). As declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) in 2021, this advocacy event serves to raise awareness of drowning as a global public health concern. To emphasise the ongoing importance of global commitment to implementing preventive measures, it is essential to remind people that "anyone can drown, no one should”.

Executive Director of Drowning Prevention Services at the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Dr Jill Fortuin says the NSRI supports the WHO's call for action as this call is one of the major contributors that embody the work done by the Drowning Prevention department at the NSRI. The focus of the campaign in 2023 is to put the spotlight on drowning prevention, in that anyone could drown no one should. On average 1477 people drown in South Africa, most of these fatal drownings occur amongst males, children under 14 years, and inland waters.

WDPD calls for doing one thing, improving one thing, and adding one thing in aid of preventing drownings. “As one of the leading bodies in South Africa operating in the drowning prevention discipline, we are urging South Africans to help us commemorate the day by wearing blue on the 25th of July 2023. This colour symbolizes the urgent need for action to reduce drownings,” adds Fortuin. In addition, the colour blue is about remembering people who have drowned, creating awareness, and increasing knowledge about drowning.

Additionally, the NSRI has designated several prominent locations to be illuminated in blue, serving as a tribute to those who have tragically lost their lives to drowning and as a visible commitment to preventing future incidents.

Those landmarks are as follows:

  1. Zoo Lake in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province
  2. 2nd Beach, Port St Johns, encompassing the Coffee Bay/Hole in the Wall areas in the Eastern Cape
  3. Whalebone Pier at Umhlanga Rocks in KwaZulu-Natal
  4. NSRI Head Office, located at 2 Longclaw Drive, Milnerton, in the Western Cape
  5. NSRI Stations situated in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

“We are forever dedicated to enhancing water safety education across the country and NSRI Drowning Prevention instructors will be conducting water safety education lessons in different regions,” says Dr Jill

Look out for these enlightening sessions taking place in the following areas:

  1. East London City Hall and Hole in the Wall at Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape
  2. Whalebone Pier at Umhlanga Rocks in KwaZulu-Natal
  3. Various schools and the NSRI Head Office in the Western Cape

“Let's embody the spirit of UBUNTU fellow South Africans, and prevent drowning together,” concludes Fortuin.

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Contact: Kuhle Mkize

Email: | Cell: 066 099 5777

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