One of the main stumbling blocks of most of the children who want to join our ocean-based programmes, is that they are at risk of drowning in the ocean due to limited exposure, awareness and swimming skills.
Therefore, one of our main objectives at the moment, is to teach every child in Hout Bay how to have basic ocean safety awareness and practical swimming skills with our 8 week Turn the Tide Programme in order to reduce the risk of drowning when swimming in the ocean. There is a serious need for such a programme, due to the beach being in such close proximity to these communities and these children not having any other means of learning how to swim.
All the children who attend this programme will also be taught essential mindfulness practices to apply in their everyday lives, theoretical knowledge about the ocean and will be given a healthy meal after each session.
It is important that the children from the communities of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu are taught context-specific swimming skills in their local body of water, which would be the ocean.
Ocean awareness and safety training helps with providing the right knowledge and training to children and even adults so that they can participate safely in ocean-related activities.
We hope to achieve this in conjunction with using a train-the-trainer approach, where we support the training of some of the senior members from the Hout Bay Surf Lifesaving Club to become assistant coaches and later on, instructors in this programme. They will then be able to offer classes to the broader community.
In this way, we can reach as much of the community as possible. These youths will be from the local communities of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu.
It is also important that water-safety and skills are taught to the relevant caregivers, such as teachers and parents, which would help minimise the risk of negative outcomes associated with a drowning incident and also protect those bystanders from placing themselves at risk for drowning.