Rule number one, for a safe experience at the beach, is to choose a beach that has Lifeguards on duty and to swim between their flags.
That way you don’t need to worry about rip currents, or suddenly getting out of your depth.
Putting an arm in the air and waving for help will get a rapid response from the Lifeguards on duty.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, people regularly swim where there are no Lifeguards on duty. This may be on a beach after the Lifeguard’s duty has finished or at a beach that does not have Lifeguards.
This is when things can go wrong.
In a typical scenario Sea Rescue gets an emergency call for a swimmer in difficulty and, when we get there, we find two or more people in danger of drowning.
Tragically, sometimes we are not able to get there in time and someone drowns. Usually the person who does not survive is the kind person who went into the water to try and help a person in difficulty.
Because this happens so frequently, Sea Rescue launched our Pink Rescue Buoy project in November 2017.
These bright Pink Rescue Buoys are hung on strategically placed signs and we hope that they will remind people to take care when entering water – and not to swim if Lifeguards are not on duty.
If there is an incident and someone needs help these buoys can be thrown to that person, providing emergency flotation.
There are clear graphics on the sign which explain how to use the Buoy. And most importantly, the emergency number for the closest Sea Rescue station is printed on the sign.
If anyone decides, against advice, to enter the water the Pink Rescue Buoy provides flotation for that person as well as for the casualty.
Many people are concerned that the Pink Rescue Buoys will be removed from the signs but, as expected, that has not been a major problem. Depending on the area, between 10% and 22% are stolen. Community involvement is critical.
….Sadly at Strand Beach we have had repeated theft of buoys at 5 sites along that 2km stretch of coastline (from Mostertsbaai to The Pipe). Despite local sponsorship and an extensive media and social media campaign, theft of the Pink Buoys in the Strand left us with no other alternative but to withdraw the Pink Rescue Buoys from this area. This was not an easy decision. This is a known drowning hot spot and we remain extremely concerned about this area as the festive season approaches…..
Pink Rescue Buoys were used to rescue 23 people. In total these buoys have been used in 22 rescues, since Nov 2017. That is something to be proud of.