Rural Ocean Splash

Water safety jamboree puts Plett on the map


THE recent Rural Ocean Splash on Central Beach and at Poortjies Lagoon, initiated by Swimming South Africa and Eden Aquatics and facilitated in Plett by Adopt A Swimmer (AAS), was a roaring success and got Bitou great national exposure with a broadcast of the two-day programme on SABC’s Morning Live Slot.  

Rural Ocean Splash is a long-standing Swimming SA programme, and was locally initiated by Eden training development officer Sybeth Hughes and Eden Aquatics GM Raymond Pollicutte to train accredited Learn to Swim teachers and coaches, enabling them to take this skill to the poorest communities in Eden District and beyond.

In conjunction with Eden Aquatics and AAS this water safety jamboree was organised in Plett over the weekend of May 26 & 27 and hosted on Central Beach and at Poortjies Lagoon.

Coaches from Oudtshoorn, Mossel Bay, George, Groot Brak River and Knysna, as well as Clayton Bischoff of Plett’s Learn to Surf fame, AAS volunteers and three Bitou Lifesavers participated in the theoretical and practical workshops,

Mafata Modutoane Swimming SA’s mass ocean rural splash coordinator spearheaded the weekend.

Children from vulnerable communities learnt valuable life skills and lessons on ocean safety. It was a rotational programme with water events such as reading waves, body surfing, boogie-boarding and wave wading, and beach events like flags races headed up by Peter Auersperg of ASS.

The lagoon splash consisted of setting up safe perimeters and safety methods using equipment that is available in the rural areas such as broomsticks, water bottles, rope, tubes, etc.

Clayton supplied SUPs for further safety equipment for the event and all the kids had their first try on a Stand Up Board for the first time - including two dogs! Lifesavers Moosa, Liam and Alexander shared theirs skills with the kids. which was an added bonus.

Says AAS founder Louise Auersperg: “The children and volunteers have greatly benefited from this programme. We thank Swimming SA, Sybeth, Raymond, Clayton and his instructors, Plett Surf Lifesaving Club for the venue, Beacon Isle KwikSpar for supplying 120 food packs and to SABC TV for their involvement and broadcasting the events on Good Morning Live.

“In the end, all of this will serve to prevent drowning in our area - the second largest cause of deaths recorded worldwide. Drowning is not discriminatory,” reminds Louise, adding that the next Ocean Splash will be in December on Robberg Beach.