Sentinel Ocean Alliance was formed to create ocean based opportunities for the under privileged youth of Hout Bay. We identified a site being Erf 2066 at the base of Chapman’s Peak on Hout Bay beach. We approached the City of Cape Town and the Department of Public Works and after lengthy discussions we were eventually granted a lease to use the land.
At the time the only infrastructure was an empty 20ft shipping container used by the City’s summer lifeguards. We then approached the organisation Waves for Change with an interest in setting up one of their programmes at the site. As a well-established NGO they had certain requirements in order to launch a program. We were eventually able meet these and so the Hout Bay Waves for Change programme was born.
The next project that was tackled was to launch a lifesaving club. We approached Lifesaving South Africa to establish what would be required to register a club.
Thanks largely to help from Bruce Tedder we were able to meet the minimum requirements quite quickly. Hout Bay Surf Lifesaving is now officially registered and recognised by Lifesaving South Africa as a club.
Our third and most current project underway is to establish an Ocean School aimed at educating the youth passing through the various programmes about the marine and coastal environment. The object being to focus on teaching sustainable practices such as recycling and to create awareness around the impact that pollution is having on our environment.
Waves for Change (W4C)
The Waves for Change programme started with a Saturday surf club run by Apish one of the founding members of W4C. Every Saturday he would bring equipment to Hout Bay and kids from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu would come for surf therapy sessions. The Saturday programme has grown from a handful of kids to two well-attended sessions every weekend. The programme has expanded to include three additional days per week one of which is a dedicated girls group on Fridays. Through the programme two coaches, Chadwin and Anele have been trained and are now employed by W4C who now run the Hout Bay programme. From the humble beginnings of Apish arriving with the equipment on weekends, there is now a fully dedicated W4C office and storage unit that was kindly donated by Yacht Aid a keen supporter of W4C. There is also a full time Manager, Katekani, employed to oversee the site operations.
Hout Bay Surf Lifesaving Club (HBSLC)
One of the core visions of SOA was to launch an official Life Saving club on Hout bay beach. The City’s Pro Lifeguards worked seasonally from the container originally on the site. This container has become the home of the Hout Bay Surf Lifesaving Club that is now officially recognised with Lifesaving South Africa.
Lifesaving South Africa have also donated a variety of equipment to get the club off the ground.
A committee has been formed and regular training now takes place on a weekly basis with up to twenty members participating. SOA through its funding has been able to support the set up and has also recently facilitated the training of 8 members as qualified Pool Lifeguards. They are currently being contracted to work for the City of Cape Town. Plans are in motion to launch the club officially later this year which we are sure will garner interest and grow the Membership quickly.
Sentinel Ocean School (SOS)
The Ocean school was the third core vision of Sentinel Ocean Alliance. Currently plans are being set in motion to repurpose a shipping container into a classroom to be placed at the site. The end goal will be to have regular classes for the kids passing through the W4C and Lifesaving programmes. We would like to see the kids receiving a wholesome meal while learning about the Marine and coastal environment amongst other valuable life lessons. The topics that would be covered would include marine and coastal pollution and the causes thereof, preserving natural resources, renewable energy and resources, recycling and how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Using the captive audience passing through the programmes we hope to inspire a generation to be conscious, healthy and responsible for their environment. As the old saying goes: ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ - a healthy mind in a healthy body.