Staying safe in the water this summer

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Bianca Wiedmann, in an article titled ‘The silent end’, put drowning in the simplest term “Two young children play in a lagoon in Durban to escape the sweltering summer heat. Its shallow depths provide them a false sense of security. The children don’t notice it gradually getting deeper. Before they realise it, the ground has disappeared from beneath their feet and they slip below the water’s surface. Attempts to rescue them are redundant. This is how drowning happens: quickly, quietly and more often than you might think.”

This is why it is important for parents to be extra vigilant when out in the water with children. The below tips are here not only for the kids, but for the adults too:

Obey the lifeguards

A lot of people do not realise the important role a lifeguard plays and often adults think that they are strong swimmers and therefore they do not need to listen to the lifeguards on duty. Lifeguards are the first line of defence when it comes to the safety of beach-goers and their duty is to protect everyone, even before disaster occurs.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol consumption before or during a trip that involves being in the water is a big no-no. Not only for obvious reasons such as the fact that it is illegal to consume alcohol at the beach but also because when drinking your judgement and physical ability is impaired.

Do not swim at night

Not only will it be near impossible for rescue services to assist you, but visibility at night is poor and you can misjudge rocks, seaweed, netting and other potentially dangerous objects. The tidal currents also tend to become stronger at night.


Children should never be left alone in or near water, even if it’s just for a second. Also, remind your children not to run near the pool. They may slip and fall, which could not only cause serious injuries, but could also cause a fall into the water.

  • Swim between the flats
  • Don’t drink and drown
  • Don’t swim alone, swim with a buddy
  • Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital
  • Know how to survive rip currents
  • Don’t attempt a rescue yourself, call a life guard or dial 911
  • Do not use floating objects, toys or try tubes at the beach or on dams as you can get blown away

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