Sea Rescue Magazine
The summer of 2018 is almost over, and behind us lies a busy year for Sea Rescue: more than 1 000 souls were saved by our rescue services and many more drownings were prevented through our educational and other initiatives. Sadly, many people still drown and we have to keep working!
The year 2017 brought us the Drowning Prevention Framework (Strategy) in collaboration with Western Cape Disaster Management, Emergency Medicine and Lifesaving SA, and in 2018 we need to add substance to its content and drive
the implementation of its elements to prevent drowning.
We’ve learnt that education is not enough and that we need to work on survival-swimming skills development. To be able to surface from immersion, float and make it to the nearest shore or object, you need to learn to swim, but at a basic survival level. Several of our drowning-prevention educators have been through a learn-to-swim educators’ programme, and we’re working on developing a programme that we will validate scientifically and then implement. South Africa needs to be able to swim to survive!
Our other preventative campaigns include the Pink Rescue Buoys we’ve rolled out at beaches. Based on a very successful system in Hawaii, they’ve already been instrumental in several successful rescues this past summer and have raised awareness levels significantly. People seem to respond to pink! We’ll keep rolling them out and evolve buy-in from local authorities as their success creates the imperative for investment.
Our online learning platform BravoBravo goes live this autumn. The first course will be available at no charge, giving the boating community free access to engaging and interactive material in preparation for the theory part of applying for a SAMSA skipper’s ticket. It was created with the aim of improving boating safety and driving a safe boating culture. I’ve been through the content myself and it’s very exciting.
SafeTRX, our tracking application now has more than 4 000 subscribers, with huge take-up in the paddling community. Well done, guys. Everyone on the water needs it. It takes the search out of search and rescue!
I am complimented on a daily basis on the efforts, enthusiasm, passion and professionalism of our rescue personnel. Every day – and some nights – they go selflessly into the deep to do a difficult job. Kudos to the men and women in red and our lifeguards in red and yellow.
I’m looking forward to a year of developing partnerships to save lives, with you, the donor, corporate, state agency, volunteer agency, professional emergency service, whoever you are and wherever you work… We need to work together towards safe waters!
See you out there,
Dr Cleeve Robertson