Sea Rescue Magazine
I knew winter was here when I took a huge pine tree across my car during a half-hour storm in April – one of those ‘seeing your life go by’ moments! Thankfully both my wife and I survived tree branch hits during the same storm and we came away unscathed!
It illustrates that our weather is getting a bit more fluky and our once-predictable boring climate is going to offer some challenges to our crews as the ‘gobal warming’ years draw on. I’m sure every station commander has this top of mind and is doing everything possible to stay safe out there.
Autumn has been an eventful season as we focus on our vision of ‘Saving Lives, Changing Lives, Creating Futures’ with a strong emphasis on drowning prevention! Andrew Ingram is dedicated to this cause, his passion and calling, and has been making great inroads in education and getting our WaterWise programme into the mainstream Basic Education Curriculum.
The estimated 2 000 fatal drownings annually (MRC Fatal Injury Report 2009) in South Africa are distributed across both inland and coastal areas, making a preventative strategy difficult. However, we believe that we can and will make a difference if we focus on mothers and small children (under five years), school-going children (six to 12 years), farming communities (dams and rivers), urban communities (dams, rivers, pools and ponds), recreational water users and those who work on water through the following:
• Educating mothers and early childhood development teachers (minders)
• Mainstreaming WaterWise in the Basic Education Curriculum
• WaterWise for farm and urban children
• Addressing alcohol on farms/beaches/boats
• Self-rescue devices at dams/rivers (safe river crossing)
• Providing preventative lifeguarding services
• Providing responsive lifeguarding and sea rescue services
• Beach signage (risks and emergency numbers)
• Flotation of water craft (buoyancy)
• Continuous wearing of PFDs (personal flotation devices)
• Emergency communication (flares/cellphones/radios)
The key to this will be collaboration and synergy with many partners and organisations. If you belong to an organisation or group with a common interest, give us a call. We’re more than willing to share ideas, materials and intellect.
Together we float, divided we sink. Let’s make a difference!
DR CLEEVE ROBERTSON, CEO