With only about 15% of South Africans that can swim there is a great need to teach especially school-going children how to survive when ending up in a difficult situation in a pool, river, or the sea.

This, according to the National Sea Rescue Institute, which this week launched its first Survival Swimming Centre at the Meiring Primary School in Riebeek Kasteel.

NSRI CEO, Dr. Cleeve Robertson says the Centre features an indoor swimming pool, that’s built into a shipping container.

Robertson says this allows swimming instructors to, in a controlled environment, teach kids what to do when finding themselves in difficulty in a body of water.

Read more on this initiative here.

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Thirty-five wild horses have been rescued from the flooded waters of the Orange River.

In a statement the NSRI says: “On Wednesday, 2 February, NSRI Port Nolloth duty crew prepared our sea rescue craft Vodacom Rescuer 2 which we towed to the Orange River, Richtersveld near to Alexander Bay, to assist “Have a Heart” and “Network for Animals” to save horses trapped on islands on the flooded Orange River.”

The animals were been trapped on small islands in rising waters of the river and some of the horses were reported to be tethered. NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says: “On arrival on the scene our sea rescue craft, accompanied by members of “Have a Heart” and “Network for Animals” was launched. Four Namibians, Jacques Kemp, Mark Kemp, Mauricio Smit and Dewald van Jaarsveld, from the Namibian side of the river, launched their 2 private boats offering to help to assist in the operation.”

Thirty-five wild horses have been rescued from the flooded waters of the Orange River.
Thirty-five wild horses have been rescued from the flooded waters of the Orange River. Picture: NSRI

The horses were scattered in groups across a number of smaller islands that they had sought shelter on.

As islands were flooded the horses were forced to swim to the next island, causing the horses to be scattered over a large area, some already standing on islands that had submerged.

In an intense operation, the horses were corralled and walked through chest-deep water and at places swum through the water to reach larger islands.

In total 35 horses, which included 3 foals, were assisted to safety.

Two people died in separate drowning incidents on Cape Town beaches on Saturday, 8 January. People flocked to the beaches and public swimming pools in Cape Town as temperatures soared in the Mother City.

At 14h09, Saturday, 8 January, NSRI Simonstown duty crew and the City of Cape Town (COCT) water rescue network were called out following eye-witness reports of a drowning in progress at Glencairn Beach. In a statement, the NSRI said: “An NSRI trainee crew member, who lives across the road from the beach and was at the beach at the time, had launched into the water with an NSRI pink rescue buoy, stationed at that beach, after being alerted to a commotion where bystanders were pointing towards a man being swept out to sea in rip currents.” A 46-year-old man was recovered from the surf and despite all rescue efforts was declared.

In another incident, on Saturday City of Cape Town lifeguards, on duty at Monwabisi Main Beach, were alerted by eye-witnesses reporting the lifeless body of a man washed onto the far eastern section of the beach at Monwabisi. The NSRI said: “COCT lifeguards, Cape Town Traffic Services and Law Enforcement officers responded while alerting the CoCT water rescue network and on their arrival on the scene CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts were commenced on a 37-year-old male from Mfuleni. Following extensive CPR efforts, the man was sadly declared deceased.”


The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is warning holiday-makers of Spring Tide on Sunday, 2 January 2022.

In a statement the NSRI says: “The New Year is upon us and NSRI and all water emergency networks are appealing to the public to be safe in and around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools.”

Once again, they are  appealing to people to only swim at beaches watched over by lifeguards and to swim in between the lifeguards safe swimming zone flags posted on the beach.

The NSRI are appealing to fishermen, coastline anglers and hikers, to take heed of Spring tides. The new moon Spring Tide peaks on 2 January.

Spokesperson Craig Lambinon says: “We are appealing to the public to be aware of the higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides preceding and following after the Spring Tides peak day and be cautious around the coastline.”

He adds: “We are appealing to parents to make sure that there is a designated responsible person watching over children in and around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools.”


If you are caught in a rip current don’t panic, stay afloat using the air in your lungs for natural buoyancy and tread water, moving your arms and legs in circular movements, to keep your head above water.

Go with the rip current, do not try to swim against the current. Call out for help. At your first opportunity swim across the beachfront until you are free from the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get to the beach.