Playing it safe on the beach

2012-12-07 00:00

FOLLOWING two drownings and another two close shaves on the South Coast in the past week, authorities are urging people to stay safe.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said this is also the time when visitors “lose their sense of caution, relax, and accidents in water happen”.

A toddler drowned in a Ramsgate swimming pool this week while a member of an out-of-town conference delegation drowned at the Pumula Beach Hotel in Umzumbe.

Two other Southbroom bathers spent 24 hours in hospital this week after getting into trouble in the surf. They were saved, but only just.

The NSRI’s educational arm, WaterWise Academy, has been offering tips to the public.

“Do not let your children out of your sight for one second when they are playing in the water, or swimming,” said Andrew Ingram, manager of the academy.

“When planning a trip to the sea, choose a beach that has lifesavers on duty and swim only between their flags.

“If you are caught in a rip current and feel yourself being pulled out to sea, do not panic.

“The current will slow down as it gets further out. Simply swim parallel to the beach and then use the waves on either side of the rip to help you get back to the beach.”

Ingram said lifejackets were an absolute must when boats went out to sea.

“Make sure to check your safety equipment and practise using it before you need to.”

Ingram also warned about the dangers of drinking and swimming.

“Alcohol and water do not mix. You would not drink and drive, so don’t drink and swim.”

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