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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.

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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.

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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


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EDUCATION  | Published: 26 January 2023

Kids’ water safety collab

John Dory’s together with the NSRI are proud to announce their collaboration on a Survival Swimming programme for primary school students at Addington Primary School.

EDUCATION  | Published: 29 June 2022

Shark spotting 101

Following the recent shark attack, we spoke to Sarah Waries from Cape Town’s acclaimed Shark Spotters programme – which works closely with the NSRI – to find out more about these misunderstood creatures, and what to do if you spot one.

Shark Bite Image 9 June 2022
EDUCATION  | Published: 16 May 2022

More about the NSRI’s shark-bite kits

Shark-bite kits are strategically placed at beach access points for use in the case of emergencies. We find out more about when they were introduced and how they can be used.

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EDUCATION  | Published: 24 February 2022

Keeping our kids safe

A Learn-to-Swim programme was recently launched at Athlone swimming pool by the City of Cape Town, in partnership with the NSRI’s Drowning Prevention unit.

EDUCATION  | Published: 25 October 2021


World Restart a Heart Day is acknowledged each year on 16 October. This year, the NSRI’s National Team Leader of Water Safety, Eoudia Erasmus, commemorated the day in a special way.

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EDUCATION  | Published: 15 May 2021

NSRI: World Water Safety Day – drowning a leading cause of death in toddlers – is your home safe?

National Sea Rescue InstituteMedia release: Immediate 15th May 2021NSRI: World Water Safety Day – drowning a leading cause of death in toddlers – is your home safe?Drowning is a leading cause of death in toddlers. The places that toddlers face ...