DURBAN - Hundreds of drownings in South Africa each year are preventable, if only proper education, prevention initiatives and the right equipment were at hand.
It is for this reason that the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) launched their Pink is for Buoys campaign which draws attention to the lifesaving pink rescue buoys that the NSRI has deployed to strategic areas, next to rivers, dams and the oceans across South Africa.
Andrew Ingram, head of Drowning Prevention at the NSRI, said the campaign aims to challenge perceptions of the colour pink, to create awareness of the pink rescue buoy project, and encourage communities to treasure and protect the rescue buoys that have been donated to their communities.
"Over 750 pink buoys have been installed and 64 lives have been saved using a pink rescue buoy since the project’s inception in November 2017," he said.
The campaign has three key messages:
- Pink is for Buoys – The pink buoy initiative has saved countless lives. If someone is drowning, think pink.
- Missing Buoys – A stolen buoy is a stolen life.
- Lost buoy, lost life - Always leave the pink buoys where they belong.
Ingram said with the deployment of hundreds of pink rescue buoys across South Africa, they hoped that the lifesaving buoys will save more lives on South African waters this season and for years to come.
"The success of the pink rescue buoy project, however, depends on our communities. Without communities standing behind the project and teaching children that the buoys should not be taken off their poles except in an emergency, we will not be able to save lives," he said.
In some areas, buoys which were thought to have been stolen have been returned to their poles within days of the community leadership telling people that they must not take these emergency floats.
Ingram urged community members to become pink lifesavers, by reporting any missing pink rescue buoys to the Emergency Operations Centre on 021 434 4011.
"Your report could save a life. Water safety is a key pillar of our work, and our initiatives would not be possible without the generous support of donors and sponsors, and the commitment of our educators and the communities that welcome them," he said.
He explained that the buoys are bright pink so they can be easily spotted on the water by responding emergency services.
"There is also a unique location number on the signpost so that crucial minutes can be saved for emergency services to help those in danger of drowning," Ingram said.
He urged water users to immediately call the emergency numbers on the pink rescue buoy sign, or 112 from their cellphone, for help if someone is in danger of drowning.
Should you wish to sponsor a pink rescue buoy at a cost of R1 500 a buoy, or would like to volunteer and assist in protecting and maintaining the buoys, please contact [email protected]