According to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), 37 South Africans perished in water during the festive season.
The institute responded to 37 fatal drownings involving 23 adults and 14 children.
NSRI extended condolences to their families and loved ones of those that perished and admonished that water safety is a priority for all South Africans and visitors to coastline.
NSRI believes that the total number of fatal drowning accidents has increased from the same period last year. But, suspects that it may be due to an increase in the number of people visiting beaches and inland waters this holiday season.
“Between 1 December 2016 and 2 January 2017, NSRI responded to 132 operations in which 193 people were rescued and 10 animals were assisted.
In 38 of these operations, we responded to boats and ships calling for assistance and we evacuated 3 patients for medical reasons from ships.
In this period we responded to 37 fatal drownings (23 adults and 14 children)…
While the majority of the drownings are attributed to drownings in the sea due to rip-currents, some fatalities were from suspected medical causes and others were fatal drowning accidents in fresh water (lagoons, swimming pools, rivers, lakes and dams) or accidents around water.”
With the foregoing, NSRI urged bathers to only visit beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.
“We encourage the public not to drink alcohol around water and we urge parents to make sure that children have responsible adult supervision around water (coastal and inland waters) and that your swimming pool at home has a cloak of safety around it.
“As we approach the Full Moon Spring Tide which peaks on the 12th of January we will again be sending out warnings of the increased risks from stronger rip currents from the 8th of January onwards,” added the institute.
NSRI was established in 1967 and is set to celebrate its 50 years voluntary service of saving lives on South African waters.