Durban — The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) awarded 300 Durban pupils certificates for completing the drowning prevention course Swimming Survival at uShaka Marine World, on Thursday.
The graduation ceremony was held in partnership with uShaka Marine World and John Dory’s. It is part of the NSRI drowning prevention programme aimed at minimising the number of drownings.
Two Durban schools, Woodlands Primary and Addington Primary School pupils were given 2 000 lessons in 8 months. The programme started in February this year (2023) and ended in September.
The course includes swimming skills like breath control in the water, moving through the water, and floatation.
Siyabonga Mthethwa, the Durban regional team leader and instructor for the KZN NSRI Drowning Prevention programme, said the aim of this initiative was to minimise water drownings, promote water safety, and educate young the ones about water.
“We want to minimise drowning numbers, educate and promote water safety since we are exposed to oceans, swimming pools, dams, and rivers. We want to equip young ones with skills to rescue themselves and enjoy water facilities with confidence,’’ said Mthethwa.
John Dory’s COO Donovan Cronje said they were honoured to be part of the initiative to promote water safety as water was a big part of their business. John Dory’s is a seafood restaurant.
“We are very grateful to the NSRI for allowing us to contribute to such a great initiative. This was very important to promote water safety. The ocean is a big part of our business, and also for the youth, we want them to have confidence when enjoying water,’’ said Cronje.
Woodlands Primary teacher and swimming coach Amber Esterhuizen said learners had learnt a lot from the programme, and it brought confidence in them when swimming.
“NSRI’s initiative has brought a lot of confidence back to the learners, especially after the Covid-19. Learners have improved a lot when it comes to water swimming skills. Some have even joined surfing clubs because of this programme. A lot of learners who lacked confidence are now super confident around water,’’ said Esterhuizen.
She also applauded the parents for supporting the learners who participated.
Bulela Tom, who is doing Grade 7 at Addington Primary, said the programme made her realise her love for water sports.
“We have learnt how to breathe under water, float with our bellies and our backs on the water. This initiative was very important, especially for me since I live near the ocean. I have realised that I enjoy more water sports. It also gave me the chance to join a surfing club,’’ said Bulela.
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