Monday, April 22, 2024

Focus on beach safety


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The National Conservation Commission (NCC) has cancelled the annual ‘learn to swim’ classes, but will be focusing on the public education component. 

“As a result of the viral illness and the resulting protocols, the NCC will not be holding the annual ‘learn to swim” classes for people ten years and older, this year,” a statement said.

Instead, the Save Our Selves (SOS) Swimming Programme will focus on a number of areas related to beach safety. Part of that component will be to highlight 19 new signs which have recently been installed at popular bathing spots, with the help of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority (BTPA.)

In a recent media release, the Commission explained the reason for the new beach signage.

“Not all beaches are supervised by lifeguards and every beach has its own peculiarities relating to tides and currents, etc. To this end, the Barbados Lifeguard Service recognised that tourists and locals are both vulnerable, requiring additional information and direction due to their unfamiliarity with the ocean at the various locations around the island.

“It is therefore incumbent on us as a nation to protect visitors and locals from potential hazards, unfamiliar environs and possible threats,” the release said.

The SOS programme will focus on beach safety, such as being able to identify and swim at lifeguard supervised beaches; recognising beaches that are not suitable for swimming as they may present constant or potential hazardous conditions; recognising lifeguards on duty (by uniform – yellow and red); following the instructions/advice of lifeguards; and understanding the meaning of the various flags that are utilised by lifeguards in the execution of their duties.

The NCC collaborated with the BTPA to develop the necessary artwork for the signs.

Nine Be Beach Smart signs have been erected at Barclays Park, Foul Bay, Worthing Beach, Needham’s Point, Welches Beach, Holetown Beach, Batts Rock, Maxwell Beach and Pierhead Beach. Another nine Caution Dangerous Current signs were strategically placed along the Ermy Bourne Highway, and one Danger – Do Not Swim Here sign has been placed at Barclays Park.

“The SOS programme is designed to acquaint participants with the experience of ocean swimming and its hazards, while exposing them to an environment that will teach respect for the marine environment, in order to promote more responsible behaviours. The Barbados Lifeguard Service, which falls under the auspices of the NCC, facilitates the programme,” according to the statement. (BGIS)




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