Tips for staying safe during swimming this summer


Risk and over-confidence in swimming capacity can play a significant role in water-related deaths.

Pool. Image: Vic Brincat / Wikimedia Commons.

JOHANNESBURG – With recent numbers of fatal and non-fatal drownings, and many South Africans getting ready to go to their vacation destinations, we ask that you be careful about participating in any water sport.

People should remember that anyone, even those who can swim, are at risk of drowning.

Risk and over-confidence in swimming capacity can play a significant role in water-related deaths.

Here are some tips from the ER24 to remember:


  • Never allow a child to swim without adult supervision. Also, never leave young people unattended around water bowls or tubs, for example. You can drown in about two inches of water.
  • Make sure children wear a life jacket if they can not swim.
  • Keep your pool covered with an approved cover when not in use.


  • Do not swim too much into the ocean. After a while, you may struggle due to fatigue or be dragged further due to strong currents.
  • Wearing a lifejacket is vital. Remember to wear your life jacket when participating in water sports, such as boating, tubing or rafting.
  • When in the ocean, swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Remember that swimming in the open sea is not the same as swimming in a pool.
  • Never dive or jump in unfamiliar or shallow waters.


  • If you are on the coast and a person is drowning, immediately notify a lifeguard. If you decide to save the person, be sure to use a flotation device.
  • If you find a person drowning and are able to get you out of the water, start CPR if there is no pulse and breathing.
  • Do not stop CPR unless the victim starts breathing alone.
  • Call an ambulance as fast as possible and tell them what you are doing so they can send you the correct level of care.
  • Do not put the person in the car and drive to the hospital. You may be involved in an accident due to panic or the victim may suffer brain damage while being referred to the hospital.
  • In case of drowning, seek medical attention as soon as possible and explain clearly to the medical team what has happened. There are cases where secondary drowning occurs. This is more common in children than in adults and may be difficult to recognize. The person may look good, despite having taken water that reaches the lungs.

The ER24 Emergency Contact Center can be reached 24 hours a day on 084 124 for any medical emergency.

The ER24 Training Academy offers first aid and CPR courses. Email [email protected] for more information.


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