The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) launched the Survival Swimming Programme in 2020 to teach children the basic skills to stay afloat should they find themselves in difficulties in the water. This was a response to an increase in stories about children drowning when they were a metre or two from safety and had no skills to manoeuvre and survive.
The NSRI is made of professional instructors and volunteers who want to share their joy of swimming with children by visiting public swimming pools to teach the basics of survival swimming.
Pools for Africa was recently part of a project to build a fibreglass swimming pool for NSRI in which survival swimming will be taught to children. The pool can take up to 15000 litres of water and is equipped with the appropriate wiring and temperature conditions.
Why did Pools for Africa get involved with this NSRI project and who else was involved?
We at Pools for Africa have for a long time marvelled at the work that the NSRI does, not only in sea rescue but also in the prevention of water related traumas. Being a supplier of swimming pools the prevention of water traumas is extremely important to us as a company. Therefore, when the call from the NSRI came for assistance in this project we jumped at the opportunity to assist by providing our insight and skills. There were a wide range of other companies involved including Delve Aquatic Systems, Dibana Logistics, Fluidra, Mr Water Delivery and Power Plastics.
What kind of fibreglass pool is required for this project?
Initially the thought was to put a pre-moulded fibreglass pool shell in the container (for example the Turquoise pool), but after discussions it was decided that a better approach would be to line the container with wood panels and then line this with a fibreglass layer to waterproof it. This is not typically what we do, but seeing that we have the skills in-house it was a reasonable simple for us to do this. This approach ensured that we maximise the swimming space in the container.
What challenges were faced during this project and what were the lessons?
The most challenging part of the project was probably co-ordinating all the different companies to do their bit, but Andrew from the NSRI managed this expertly and ensured that all parties were kept informed on progress and their role in it.
Where is this fibreglass pool based and who can benefit from using it?
The idea is that the Container can be moved around, but this prototype was set-up in Meiring Primer School in Riebeeck Wes where the first few children were instructed in swimming survival last week. Should it prove to be successful, more units will be built with and placed in hotspots around the country.
Will Pools for Africa create more survival swimming pools in future?
If the prototype is a success, the project a success and the NSRI decide to roll out the project we would love to be involved going forward.
What was the best moment during the project? And what other additional information can be shared about it.
The best part of the project was definitely seeing the pictures of the first children being taught and the big smile on a young girl’s face when she realised that she is able to float on her back in the water. Water safety is very close to our hearts and us as PfA are privileged to have been asked to participate in this project. Every child taught water survival is potentially a life saved.