Durban - Numerous emergency service providers have reported an increase in the number of near drowning and drownings since the start of summer and the year-end holiday period.
On Sunday, two young boys from Verulam drowned while swimming in a river near their home.
Police divers retrieved their bodies after a search operation involving the K9 unit and Search and Rescue.
It was reported that the volume of water in the river rose suddenly after heavy rains.
Nick Dollman, of Netcare Limited has urged that parents take extra care around unprotected water sources such as water features, jacuzzis, fish ponds, swimming pools, large buckets or containers of water - as these are all potential hazards for small children who can easily slip away unnoticed.
“Drowning incidents can be silent killers. We advise the community to be extra vigilant and to keep a watchful eye on children and potentially dangerous water hazards,” said Dollman.
Prevention of access to these and other hazards with SABS approved nets or fences is recommended.
Dollman also advised that families be fully prepared for the holiday season and educate themselves with basic first aid and CPR knowledge.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has issued a list of safety tips to use as a safety measures during the holiday season, in swimming pools and out at sea.
The NSRI encouraged the public to be cautious around all water, coastal and inland waters and swimming pools and urged parents to make sure that their children have responsible adult supervision when around water
“We are urging the public to prepare, with a safety conscious mindset, before venturing to the beach, swimming pools, lagoons, lakes, rivers and dams,” said Craig Lambinon, an NSRI spokesperson.
Basic Water Safety Tips from the NSRI:
1. Children should have responsible adult supervision when in or near water.
2. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim between their flags.
3. Don’t drink alcohol before you swim
4. Never swim alone. Swim in groups.
5. Swimming pool fences and a child safe pool cover or net is vital at home swimming pools.
6. Know how to survive rip currents.
7. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.
8. Do not let children use floating objects, toys or tyre tubes at the beach or on dams. As they may cause you to be blown to deep water by winds.
9. Do not be distracted by your cellphone.
10. Wear lifejackets when you are on a boat
11. If your boat has a kill switch always wear it.
12. Paddlers and boaters can download the NSRI’s free RSA App, Safetrx cell phone app downloaded and used on cell phones.
13. Wear bright clothing
14. Rock anglers should wear lifejackets.
15. Have local emergency numbers programmed into your phone
16. Do not dive into water
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa has urged all South Africans and holiday makers to be responsible as they exercise their right to equitable access to Coastal Public Property (CPP) this festive season.