The National Sea Rescue Institute has urged holidaymakers to be careful when they visit beaches, coastal and inland waters as well as swimming pools as the festive season gets underway.
The NSRI is a charity staffed by volunteers who are on call, day and night throughout the year at bases along the coast and on inland dams. It aims to prevent drowning through education, preventative measures and rescue.
In its latest tips for the summer season, it urged the public to avoid alcohol while swimming and never to swim alone.
“Our rule number one, for a safe experience at the beach, is to choose a beach that has lifeguards on duty and to swim between their flags,” it said.
“That way you don’t need to worry about rip currents, or suddenly getting out of your depth.”
People should also never turn their backs on the sea when climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks, it said, adding that rock anglers must wear a life jacket and be aware of times for the spring high tide.
The NSRI warned guardians not to let children use floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams.
“You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and Styrofoam are it is easy to fall off them. If a child can’t swim and falls off in deep water they will drown,” it said, urging them to keep a close eye on young ones.
“Listening for children in difficulty in the water is not good enough, you must be watching them very carefully and make sure that they are not getting in too deep or being moved by currents and swept away from the safe swimming area,” it said.
– ANA, editing by Stella Mapenzauswa