Home Opinion and Features Let’s be vigilant when at pools and beaches

Let’s be vigilant when at pools and beaches

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The drownings and the recovery of their bodies came a week after three bodies were washed out on the False Bay coastline

Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)

THE bodies of three young people were recovered from the sea at Three Anchor Bay in Cape Town yesterday. This while police divers continued their search for a fourth person, also presumed drowned.

Tragedy struck on Sunday when the teenagers, all foreign nationals, went for a swim. Here were young lives cut short in the blink of an eye.

One moment they were wading into the water, and the next, a wave took them. The drownings and the recovery of their bodies came a week after three bodies were washed out on the False Bay coastline. That’s six people dead in as many days.

Our hearts go out to the families who have lost their loved ones. Watching the body of your child being retrieved must be heart wrenching for any parent.

These incredibly sad incidents do not only occur at the coast. While drownings also happen inland at rivers, lakes, dams and swimming pools, it is at the country’s beaches where extra vigilance and awareness, or the lack thereof, could mean the difference between life and death.

As the festive season is fast approaching, thousands of domestic tourists from upcountry are expected to head to coastal cities and towns.

For many, no holiday is complete unless they’ve enjoyed the sea. We expect the authorities to do everything to ensure the safety of bathers at inland water bodies and on the beaches, and prevent drownings. But members of the public have an equal responsibility towards their own safety and those dear to them.

The seas can be unpredictable, treacherous and dangerous, particularly rip tides. Failure to appreciate these could result in tragedy.

Another danger is the consumption of alcohol before swimming. Every year, law enforcement officials confiscate thousands of litres of alcohol at beaches.

National Sea Rescue Institute members and volunteer lifesavers at the coast are doing a brilliant job of protecting us. They jump into action at the drop of a hat – leaving behind their families so they could be of service to us. We owe them our co-operation and support.

No amount of advice can bring back those who lost their lives to drowning, but the very least we could do is to be civil minded and cautious when we are at a pool, lake, dam or beach.