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It’s always tempting to take the plunge when temperatures soar and you’re in the holiday spirit. And, while we wish you a wonderful time with family and friends this season, we also urge you to adopt a safety mindset when out and about near water

Here are some water-safety tips to bear in mind this summer

1. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.

Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about beach safety. They are the experts. If lifeguards are not on duty, do not swim.

2. Swim between the lifeguard flags.

Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards flags, the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags – just wave an arm if you need help.

3. Don’t drink alcohol and then swim.

4. Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.

If you are with a buddy while swimming, there is someone who can call for help if you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.

5. Always supervise your children at home.

Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water. Only use child-safe pool fences and child-safe pool covers or nets.

 

6. Know how to survive rip currents.

Educate yourself about rip currents, know what they look like and how to handle them if you find yourself caught in one. Our first rule is always swim on lifeguarded beaches and in between the lifeguard flags. Learn more about rip currents here undefined. If you do get caught in a rip current, try to stay calm. The current will not pull you underwater, it’s going to pull you away from the shore. Try to float, and don’t attempt to swim against it back to shore as this will tire you out. Swim out of the rip, parallel to the shore, and then follow the breaking waves back to shore at an angle.

7. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.

If you see someone in difficulty, alert a lifeguard at once. If possible, throw something that floats to the person. Then call the emergency number 112 from your cellphone. The NSRI’s Emergency Operations Centre can be reached on 087 094 9774.

8. Avoid bringing tubes and pool inflatables to the beach or dam.

As much fun as inflatables are, they can be blown away from shore very easily. If a child or adult can’t swim and falls off in deep water, they will drown.

9. Drowning is silent.

Watch children when they are in or near water. Do not be distracted by your cellphone or social media; you need to focus on them and nothing else.

10. Learn how to perform CPR.

Be prepared!

  • Make sure you have emergency numbers that you may need saved in your cellphone. Dial 112 from any cellphone in any emergency. Or simply Google Sea Rescue or NSRI for the closest Sea Rescue station’s telephone number.
  • Check the wind, weather and tides before going to the beach, fishing or boating.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, and make sure that they know your route, your intentions and who to call if you are overdue.
  • When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks – never ever turn your back on the sea and we strongly advise rock anglers to wear a lifejacket and know when spring high tide is.

NSRI is appealing to everyone launching any kind of craft onto water, coastal and inland, to download and use the NSRI SafeTrx free cellphone app, have responsible family members monitor your trip using SafeTrx, and carry safety equipment.

Further tips when launching any kind of craft onto water

  • Weather and sea conditions can change quickly, so take with what you need to stay afloat and warm.
  • Secure pencil flares and/or hand-held flares, a reflector, a whistle and your fully charged cellphone, with SafeTRX app and emergency numbers loaded, in a waterproof pouch and test the pouch before you go out on the water.
  • Wear a brightly coloured PFD.
  • Paddle in a buddy system.
  • Have your name and telephone numbers printed on your craft.
  • Leave a card with your name and phone number on your vehicle dashboard.
  • Take the appropriate thermal protection for the conditions forecast.
  • Place bright reflective tape on your boat and paddle blades.
  • Call for help sooner rather than later.
  • When carrying flares, always keep one flare to use when you can see or hear the rescue vessel arriving.
  • Remember that you’re most likely to see the NSRI before they see you – you need some way to communicate with them directly so that you can guide them those last few hundred meters to your location. A VHF radio is great for this.

Be safe this holiday season!

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