Toti beach popular with disabled people

2017-04-26 06:00
 Photo: tania sandbergThe two floatable wheelchairs at Amanzimtoti Main Beach.

Photo: tania sandbergThe two floatable wheelchairs at Amanzimtoti Main Beach.

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AMANZIMTOTI constantly tries to be the most comfortable beach for disabled people, when it comes to wheelchair access to the beach and sea, according to beach manager, Jayce Govender.

“The drive to assist those in wheelchairs is a collective effort between lifeguards, law enforcement, beach cleaning staff and the public.

“Wesley Smith from Adaptive Surfing KZN is one of those individuals who are instrumental in assisting us with this,” Govender said.

He said hundreds of disabled people have been using the two floatable wheelchairs since they were first introduced to Amanzimtoti Main Beach.

“We are looking for people who have not been able to access the sea due to their disability or old age. We make it possible for them to enter the sea safely, with two lifeguards assisting one person in a wheelchair,” he said.

He said many holidaymakers have been using the facility in the holidays and they now have regular visitors who come on specific days at set times.

“The best part about this initiative is seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they get into the water for the first time. The way we see it, it is not us doing them a favour, it is the disabled doing us a favour. The lifeguards are masters of the ocean, they are so humbled when seeing the reaction of someone been put into the water for the first time. The lifeguards tear up and are so moved,” said Govender.

Smith said if any disabled or elderly person wants to go for a ride in the floatable wheelchair, they can contact him on 082 802 1349 or Govender on 074 562 4888.

Adaptive Surfing KZN have also introduced one at Addington Beach.

Govender said they had done the normal seasonal planning for the holidays for additional staff and equipment. A total of 12 seasonal lifeguards had been appointed to join them for the holiday season.

“During the holiday season, beaches from Isipingo to Umkomaas, including Pipeline, Toti, Doonside, Winkle and Umgubaba beach are manned from 6am to 6pm daily. “Patrolling lifeguards work from 8am to 5pm at Tiger Rocks, Dakota, Baggies and Umkomaas beach, specifically to assist people in trouble and to tell them it is non-swimming beaches,” said Govender.

He said people are being rescued daily and urged people to only swim where there are lifeguards, as non-manned beaches is where people mostly get into trouble. Swimming in rivers is strictly prohibited for health and safety reasons.

The public is reminded that safety is a partnership between lifeguards and the public.

“They help us when they comply with the rules, then we can use our resources when required. Drinking is also a huge problem on all our beaches. Drinking and swimming is not allowed.

“The public can report any problems to the lifeguard on duty, SAPS, Metro Police or law enforcement.”
The beach office is open from 6am to 6pm, seven days a week in holiday season and normally from 8am to 5pm and can be contacted on 031 322 9043.


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