WATER SAFETY A MUST FOR SUMMER HOLIDAYS
Ugu South Coast Tourism shares 15 water safety tips for summer holiday season
A wonderful seaside holiday can only be enjoyed by incorporating water safety practices at all times along the KZN South Coast, a popular holiday destination which is known for its six beautiful blue flag beaches.
“We are so fortunate in our many water-based offerings that attract holidaymakers to the KZN South Coast. We are thrilled that six of our popular beaches have just been awarded the internationally-recognised Blue Flag status, the criteria of which includes compliance with national safety regulations. Our swimming beaches are all manned by exceptional lifeguards, and we encourage all beachgoers to take the necessary precautions to remain safe in the water over the festive season,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT).
Apart from visitors themselves who decided to cool off in the many rivers, lagoons, pools and waves along the South Coast, local authorities have also put a number of safeguards in place for the busy holiday season.
These include the deployment of tourism monitors at Margate Beach, St Michael’s Beach, Hibberdene Beach and Scottburgh Beach.
The 12-month Tourism Monitors Programme is being run by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) in partnership with AGB Group. This programme trains and creates employment opportunities for youth who will patrol the beaches, report crimes and provide tourists with information.
To ensure visitors fully enjoy the KZN South Coast Summer Programme and other water-based activities, USCT has also shared water safety tips, with input from the NSRI (www.NSRI.org.za).
Tips to remember when visiting the KZN South Coast beaches include:
- Only swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. Beach times vary between municipalities and seasons, so check with the local lifeguards.
- Only swim between the two lifeguard flags and wave an arm if you are in need of a lifeguard’s help.
- Check the wind, weather and tides before going to the beach.
- Never swim alone. Always go into the water with someone else.
- If you see someone in difficulty in the water, alert a lifeguard at once
- Do not use tubes and pool inflatables at the beach.
- Remember to keep hydrated when swimming and spending time in the sun.
- Remember to use sunscreen and reapply every two hours, especially when swimming and sweating.
- Never swim when intoxicated. Alcohol impairs judgement and unnecessary risks are taken.
- Adults must supervise children near water at all times – and supervising adults must know how to swim.
- Watch children even if they are just near the water. Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media – focus on the children and nothing else.
- If you get caught in a rip current, try to remain calm. Do not attempt to swim against it back to shore. Rather swim out of the rip, parallel to shore and follow the breaking waves back to shore at an angle.
- If you are going fishing along the coast, let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
- If climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks, don’t turn your back on the sea. Wear a lifejacket when fishing from rocks and check the tides.
- If there is an emergency, dial 112 from your cellphone or call the NSRI’s Emergency Operations Centre on 072 652 5158 (Ilfracombe to Umtwalume), 082 990 5950 (Hibberdene to Southbroom) and 082 990 5951 (Southbroom to Wild Coast).
To discover more about the KZN South Coast – including its exciting Summer Holiday Programme – download the free ‘Explore KZN South Coast’ app from Google Play and Apple stores, or visit www.visitkznsouthcoast.co.za. Alternatively, check out ‘South Coast Tourism’ on Facebook or YouTube, @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram, or ‘Info Ugu South Coast Tourism’ on LinkedIn. Follow the hashtags #KZNsouthcoast #summervibes #gosouth #summerishere #familyadventure #kidfriendly #adventuretravel #extendyourstay.