The National Sea Rescue Institute says about 1000 sea rescue volunteers will be on duty this festive season. They will be working various shifts, including throughout the night. It says it is preparing for an incredibly busy period with scores of more people expected to flock to beaches as many public swimming pools have been closed due to the on-going drought in the Western Cape.
It is that time of year, where holiday- makers escape the summer heat for the cool waters of the coastline. However, the National Sea Rescue Institute is urging the public not to be reckless.
The institute’s Craig Lambinon says it is important that beachgoers adhere to safety rules. With public swimming pools being closed due to the drought, he says locals and tourists will have to head instead to the seaside for some surf and sand.
“The biggest concern at the moment is with the Western Cape public swimming pools are closed so we know that the inland water ways like rivers, lakes, dams and home swimming pools and a lot more people are going to be down at the beach, so we are urging everyone to have a safety conscious mind set, make sure to go to beaches only when lifeguards are on duty.”
Lambinon has also raised concerns about drownings over the festive season. He gives some advice on what to do when witnessing somebody in danger of drowning.
“We urge people not to try and rescue people themselves. Too often people get into the water to rescue someone and they end up getting into trouble , we ask if you can throw a floating object at the person that is in trouble and call the emergency services, national sea rescue emergency numbers is 112 from your cell phone.”
Meanwhile, beachgoers say they hope officials are well prepared for the busy season. Some have raised concerns about child safety and sharks. “I see a lot of kids but very little security maybe just with family, look around but you know they are busy doing other things,” says one of the beach goers.
Lambinon has also warned the public to be aware of the next spring tide this coming Monday.