With cases of drowning reported throughout the year, there is a dire need for Namibians to go through rigorous swimming lessons to avoid and minimise incidents of that nature.
Coupled with the lack of adequate numbers of lifeguards at seaside areas, the increasing number of children drowning led to a group of concerned Namibians establishing the Swakopmund sea rescue and training unit, Aquamund Academy.
Founder and project manager Jonas Sheyavali (26) cautioned Namibians to be vigilant, especially with the festive season approaching.
“Parents should always be within two metres from their children around water bodies. Parents should limit or avoid using their cellphones on the beach when they are with children. People should be aware that having the ability to swim in a pool does not equate to doing at sea or in the ocean,” he stressed.
Target groups for the swimming lessons include school children (four per school), interested members of the community, companies with personnel near water vicinities (hotels, restaurants or security companies), and learners who go on school visits to the coast for educational purposes.
“The aim is to train young members of society who will volunteer as safety personnel during standbys and monitoring,” shared Sheyavali.
The education graduate added they are a youth development initiative that provides lifeguard services during the festive season – and when the weather is warm, providing community survival swimming training, and creating water safety awareness in communities via social and other media throughout the year – like warnings on rough sea conditions.
The academy has nine volunteer lifeguards that successfully managed to train 10 school-going junior lifeguards since the inception of the initiative.
“The long-term goal is to address the drowning risk, and to help our nation to preserve and protect human capital, which is a pivotal component of development. We believe a platform like this will benefit our community and enhance future aquatic opportunities for our nation,” he said.
The team is, therefore, urging Namibians to respect different water bodies equally – be it is rivers, oceans or lakes – “even water in a glass must be respected”.