Boaters urged to stay away from Hartbeespoort Dam hyacinth mats

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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has warned boaters to refrain from attempting to navigate through water hyacinth mats at Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West.

This after it took volunteers from the NSRI over five hours to rescue 30 recreational boaters trapped in water hyacinth mats, covering over 30 percent of the dam.

NSRI spokesperson Andrew Ingram says boaters should ensure that they are carrying the standard emergency equipment, drinking water, food, space blankets and warm clothing in case they become trapped.

“As summer progresses, the water hyacinth will grow, covering a larger area and making this problem more severe. Under no circumstances should boaters try to navigate through the water hyacinth. By doing this, they are putting their lives at risk.”

“Rescuing people in boats entrapped by water hyacinth is a complex operation and will not be necessary if people do not enter the water hyacinth mats,” adds Ingram.

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