Team: For Outstanding Team Contribution to a Maritime SAR Operation

The NSRI’s WaterWise Academy saves the lives of children by giving them water safety lessons in the safe learning environment of their school classroom.

World Health Rankings rank South Africa as 81st on the world list of number of drownings using published World Health Organisation data and NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson estimates that each year in South Africa there are approximately 2000 fatal drowning incidents, of which 600 are children.

It is estimated that 10 times this number of people suffer some form of hypoxic brain injury from non-fatal drowning incidents.

The 14 professional WaterWise Academy Instructors prevent drowning tragedies through education; teaching children how to avoid danger in or near water, what to do in an emergency, how to safely carry out peer rescue, who to call for help, and how to do HandsOn CPR.

Although the lesson is structured and has a common thread it allows the Instructor to concentrate on drowning issues in their area. So, on South Africa’s famous Garden Route, instructors concentrate on rip currents, but inland at Soweto, close to Johannesburg, they focus on flash flooding and the danger of storm water drains.

The children are taught to have a PLAN where P=Prepare, L=Look, A=Ask and N=Never. They are then, through role play shown the extreme danger of getting into water to help someone, and lastly, they are taught an emergency number that can be used from a landline or cell phone across South Africa. The older children (usually from Grade 4 up) are taught how to do HandsOn CPR.

The interactive presentation is aimed at primary school children, given on school premises during school hours, and tailored to fit into one school period – at no charge.

Presently the 14 Instructors and nine volunteer Instructors are based around the country and visit classrooms in disadvantaged communities.

The team of 14 full time instructors, and a handful of volunteers, have trained a total of 1,373,434 children (as at end June 2017) and currently reach approximately 330,000 children across South Africa each year.

Between 1 July 2016 - 30 June 2017 the Academy Instructors taught water safety to 349,310 children.


Visit the Media Gallery (new window) for more photos.