People's Post

Free Survival swimming lessons return ahead of holiday season

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The NSRI Survival Swimming lessons have returned to the Sea Point Pavilion Municipal Swimming Pool.PHOTO: NSRI
The NSRI Survival Swimming lessons have returned to the Sea Point Pavilion Municipal Swimming Pool.PHOTO: NSRI

With the holiday season fast approaching beachgoers and parents are cautioned to be water safe.

Over the past six years, the average drowning incidence recorded was 1 477 across the country with 136 incidents per year for the Western Cape.

According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), the Western Cape is in the top-four provinces with the highest drowning figures.

KwaZulu Natal is the highest followed by Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

The NSRI’s Survival Swimming lessons have returned to the Sea Point Pavilion Municipal Swimming Pool following an extended winter break.

Jill Fortuin, NSRI Executive Director: Drowning Prevention, says the programme aims to teach people basic skills of how to stay afloat should they experience difficulty in the water.

Fortuin says drownings mostly occur between 16:00 and 20:00 and happens more frequently over the weekend during December and January.

She says the volunteer Survival Swimming Instructors will be teaching adults and children the four basic skills of survival swimming; breath control, orientation, floating and moving through water.

“We teach them breath control; this is learning to hold your breath underwater and come up for air without swallowing water. Orientation is opening your eyes underwater and seeing where you are. Floating and moving through water.”

She adds: “If someone should fall into the water they can hold their breath and come up for air, they can orientate themselves to the nearest wall or the shallow side. They can float until someone can help them or move to the side of the pool. Each one of the components helps you survive when you are in the water.”

She explains that group lessons apply to people from the age of six years and older.

“We also have a new location this year, the Muizenberg Municipal Swimming Pool which will also be hosting its own Survival Swimming lessons. The Survival Swimming programme will start in time for the 2022 summer season, providing invaluable skills to the patrons of these swimming pools.”

Fortuin says it is crucial that people remain water safe, especially at home:

  • Make sure there are barriers to any water areas – if you have a swimming pool at home, make sure there is a fence around it or a pool cover.
  • Empty the water for inflatable pools.
  • Always be vigilant when you supervise children.
  • Do not drink and swim.

Fortuin says people should swim at beaches where life guards are present

“Make sure you adhere to the lifeguards. The red and yellow flags demarcate safe areas where the lifeguards are patrolling; if it’s a beach and you see lifeguards and there are no flags, go and enquire by the facility manager or law enforcement why the flags are not up.

The free lessons will run on Saturdays, until Saturday 3 December. They will then commence on Saturday 21 January until Saturday 4 March next year, at the Sea Point Pavilion.

The Muizenberg Municipal Pool’s lessons are on until Thursday 15 December and again from Sunday 15 January to Saturday 4 March next year.

A month ago, the City began the deployment of 600 swimming pool and beach lifeguards, who will keep a watchful eye on bathers over the coming summer season.

According to the City’s drowning prevention plan, lifeguards will be on duty at 32 swimming pools and 29 beaches, tidal pools and stretches of coast this season.

The City implements a drowning prevention plan annually in partnership with the NSRI, Lifesaving South Africa, Lifesaving Cape Town, the police and City law enforcement to name a few.

Patricia van der Ross, the Mayco member for community services and health, says: “Lifeguards are working even when there are no active incidents for them to respond to.

“Part of their duties is to conduct observations and spot potential hazards before they become life-threatening. Lifeguards play an important role in ensuring the safety of bathers and they’re often the first responders in an emergency at the beach.” V For more information email

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can 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. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1490 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 8181 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1700 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.