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Water safety lessons at local schools

Children who live in the West Coast District Municipality (WCDM, which includes the Swartland Municipality, Bergrivier Municipality, Cederberg Municipality, Saldanha Bay Municipality and Matzikama Municipality) are benefiting from vital water safety lessons at schools, thanks to WCDM sponsorship for the next few years.

Funding for the first year (2018) to the tune of R260 110, enabled the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) to appoint a dedicated instructor, who travelled to schools in the district and facilitated water safety classes.

These classes are interactive sessions, in which the children learn important lessons through song and dance and have the opportunity to learn very basic hands-on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

The municipal district, a huge geographical area, has 126 schools with more than 62 000 children, who will be taught in this three-year period.

Drowning is a major cause of accidental deaths in South Africa.

Those statistically most vulnerable include children between age 5 and 14 living in rural and remote areas.

It is to reduce the drowning statistics on the West Coast that the NSRI has collaborated with WCDM, to educate the youth about water safety.

The NSRI believes that if young people are empowered with valuable life skills in basic water safety and CPR, as well as being confident in their ability to know how to help a friend in difficulties, fewer water-related incidents would result in fatal drowning.

NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson, says: “The reality is that the children in rural areas are mostly unsupervised when playing near water.

“It is often hot, and there are few activities to amuse them.

“They don’t always have access to cellphones and the distance from medical assistance is often quite significant.

“These children need to know how to get each other out of trouble and to call for appropriate help.”

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