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Andrew Ingram of South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute writes:

The WaterWise Academy is the proactive educational initiative of South Africa's voluntary National Sea Rescue Institute. The programme's nine full-time Instructors have taught some 435,388 children about water safety since its inception in 2006.

Even competent swimmers can drown so, instead of teaching kids to swim, we teach them how to rescue their peers. We target 9- to 14-year-old kids, since they are most at risk of death by drowning. We teach them what to do in an emergency, who to call for help and how to initiate basic bystander CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) while they wait for an ambulance to arrive.

WaterWise Instructors based around South Africa visit the classrooms of disadvantaged schools and teach the children, through interactive activities, what is safe and what is not when playing near or in water. The children are given a basic understanding of what to do should they find themselves in an emergency. Very importantly, this includes how to identify and avoid rip currents, as well as what to do if they or their friends are caught in one.

Using the acronym PLAN (where P stands for Plan, L for Look, A for Ask and N for Never) we give them the do's and don'ts of basic water safety. For the older children the First Aid HHH (Hazards, Hello and Help) is used to teach about their own safety coming first; and finally the children have great fun learning the national emergency number.

Transnet National Ports Authority sponsors six Instructors and our Waterwise Eden Instructor is proudly sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. Sea Rescue funds the remaining two with public donations that are made specifically to the WaterWise Academy project.

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