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The NSRI’s Water Safety Education programme started in 2006. Our focus is on teaching people throughout South Africa to be safe in and around water, especially those who are most vulnerable, being children under 14 years.

The need for Water Safety Education is obvious if we consider the drowning statistics in our country. Rural underserved communities in particular are vulnerable to drownings in farm dams, rivers and streams. Without formal swimming skills people too often find themselves in trouble.

The NSRI’s programme presents an effective Water Safety curriculum to create awareness about the dangers of water, what to do if someone gets into trouble, how to help a friend in need, how to perform bystander CPR and who to call for help.

Today the NSRI has 21 full-time instructors who visit schools and clubs around the country and teach people about water-safety issues – using colourful teaching materials and a mannequin to demonstrate bystander CPR. The lessons are designed to fit into a normal school schedule, are presented in a fun and interactive way, are age-appropriate and delivered in the mother tongue of the learners.

Since the programme started in 2006 we have taught over 3 million people. In 2017 the NSRI’s Water Safety Education programme received international recognition as the proud runner up for an Outstanding Team Contribution in the International Maritime Rescue Federation awards.

In this section

The NSRI has three core Drowning Prevention programmes – Water Safety Education, Pink Rescue Buoys and Survival Swimming – and offers a range of free resources and educational materials.

Water safety graph
Number of people who have received Water Safety Education.

To date, over 3 million people, predominantly primary-school learners, have been taught water safety skills.

Water Safety Image

Our Water Safety Education instructors in action


“Learning Water Safety and peer-rescue skills such as CPR and basic rescue techniques from a young age can help save a life! Always remember, drowning is silent.”

Eoudia Erasmus, National Team Leader of the NRSI’s Water Safety Education Programme