GARDEN ROUTE | KAROO NEWS - The NSRI wishes everyone a safe summer holiday and urges the public to adopt a water safety mindset around coastal and inland waters.
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. If you do that, 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.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, people regularly swim where there are no lifeguards on duty. In a typical scenario Sea Rescue gets an emergency call for a swimmer in difficulty and, when they get there, find two or more people in danger of drowning.
Often the person who does not survive is the kind person who went into the water to help a person in difficulty. Because this happens so frequently, Sea Rescue launched their Pink Rescue Buoy project in November 2017. These bright Pink Rescue Buoys are hung on strategically placed signs. If there is an incident and someone needs help these buoys can be thrown to the person in trouble, providing them with 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 to try to rescue someone in trouble, first call Sea Rescue and then use the Pink Rescue Buoy to provide flotation for that good Samaritan as well as for the casualty.
Have a plan in place
• Make sure you have emergency numbers that you may need saved in your cell phone. Dial 112 from any cell phone 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, wear a lifejacket, and know when spring high tide is.
• If you are paddling or on a boat, before you launch, download and always use the NSRI’s free SafeTrx app – www.nsri.org.za/safetrx
• 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.
• Swim between the lifeguard’s flags. l Don’t drink alcohol and then swim. l Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.
• Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital. Adults who are supervising children must be able to swim. Only use child safe pool fences and child safe pool covers or nets.
• Don’t attempt a rescue yourself. Call a lifeguard or the NSRI by dialling 112 from your cell phone for help. After calling for help Have a plan in place try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. A ball, a foam surfboard and so on.
• Watch children who are using floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams very carefully. Never use these if the wind may blow them away from the shallow water.
• Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media. While you are looking after children in or near water you need to focus on them and nothing else. l Learn how to do CPR. Have the emergency numbers saved in your phone.
• Know how to survive rip currents. Educate yourself about rip currents at www.nsri. org.za/2017/01/beware-of-ripcurrents including videos of what rip currents look like.
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