PICS | NSRI marks first International Drowning Prevention Day

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The first International Drowning Prevention Day was marked at Rocklands Beach in Cape Town on Sunday.
The first International Drowning Prevention Day was marked at Rocklands Beach in Cape Town on Sunday.
PHOTO: Supplied by NSRI
  • The first International Drowning Prevention Day took place on Sunday.
  • The NSRI marked the event by laying down buoys in the shape of the number 75 to celebrate the 75 lives saved through the use of its pink buoys since 2017.
  • There are more than 1 000 pink buoys at beaches around South Africa as part of an NSRI water safety initiative.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) commemorated the first International Drowning Prevention Day at Rocklands Beach in Cape Town on Sunday.

The United Nations has adopted a resolution, dedicating 25 July for the global advocacy of drowning prevention.

At the event on Sunday, 200 buoys were laid down in the shape of the number 75 to celebrate the 75 lives that were saved with the use of the NSRI's Pink Rescue Buoys since 2017.

First International Drowning Prevention Day
The first International Drowning Prevention Day was marked at Rocklands Beach in Cape Town with 200 buoys by the National Sea Rescue Institute.

The pink buoys are part of a water safety initiative by the NSRI and more than 1 000 have been deployed across South Africa.

"The rescue buoys are bright pink so that they can be easily spotted on the water by responding emergency services. There is also a unique location number on the signpost so that crucial minutes can be saved for emergency services to help those in danger of drowning," said Jill Fortuin, NSRI Director of Drowning Prevention.

On Sunday, the NSRI also handed awards to three men – William Boltmann, Richard Boltmann and Francois Koekemoer – who used a pink rescue buoy to save two fishermen who were washed off the rocks at Rooi Els.

ALSO READ | Quick thinking saves Cape Town teen from drowning

Rocklands Beach was the site where four youths were swept off the rocks and drowned in 2019.

But according to Fortuin, tragedies like the Rocklands Beach one are preventable.

"We are delighted to join the world in recognising drowning for the issue that it is. In South Africa, 1 500 people drown every year. [Of those, 450] are children under the age of 14," said Fortuin.

In South Africa, drowning rates are the highest among children who are younger than four years old, followed by children aged five to 14. In very young children, 70% of drowning deaths take place in or around the home in ponds, pools, bathtubs and buckets, she added.

NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson
NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson presents Pink Rescue Buoy Awards to William Boltman, Francois Koekemoer and Richard Boltmann.

The NSRI has introduced several initiatives that target high-risk areas and communities across the country. These have taken the form of water-safety lessons in schools, pop-up survival swimming classes at public swimming pools, water-safety learning materials that are freely available, and the rollout of the Pink Rescue Buoys at public swimming areas, such as beaches and dams.

"The NSRI is proud of the difference that they have made in helping to reduce the number of drownings in South Africa. Since 2006, the NSRI has been teaching water safety in schools around the country. In total, our 20 full-time water safety instructors have reached just over three million people (mostly primary school children) with our lessons on how to be safe in and near water, as well as how to do bystander CPR," Fortuin said.

Fortuin urged water users to immediately call the emergency numbers on the Pink Rescue Buoy sign, or 112 from a cellphone if someone is in danger of drowning.

Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Limited access to restaurants and bars
12% - 510 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
17% - 735 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
29% - 1289 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
43% - 1892 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.