We’ve all seen them, wearing their red and yellow bathing suits, looking over the beach making sure everyone is safe. While this might inspire images of Baywatch, lifeguards are there for our safety. The fact that most them do this on a voluntary basis makes their work so much more honourable.
Lifesaving South Africa (LSA) is made up of 7000 volunteers who spend their free time ensuring we are safe by the water, whether it’s at the beach or other aquatic venues. Their work is so important. According to Colleen Saunders, who works for LSA, 44% of fatal drownings that occur in SA happen to those under 15-years-old, and most of those victims are under the age of five. Dylan Tommy, the president of LSA, says that around 1500 people drown per year and around 3000 people in a year are saved by LSA across the country.
Their work focuses on preventive measures so that people are at less risk of drowning. They are also involved in numerous educational and training programmes and lifesaving competitions to keep their volunteers fit. The thing is that this all costs money. Enter General Tires, who have sponsored R5,2 million for LSA, and made a three-year commitment to them, in order to help with all their projects.
For Bonita Davids, the chairperson for Arena Lifesaving and a LWP Still Water competition officer, a sponsorship like this is fantastic.
‘We need sponsorship from corporate South Africa, and this commitment from General Tires is the start. It’s disheartening when volunteers want to commit to keeping us safe in the water and have to compete, but can’t even afford to pay for their kit. This makes me so proud.’
Photography Courtesy, Annzra Denita