Avoid flotation devices at all costs, never swim alone, and always seek medical attention if you are in a near-drowning situation!
These were among the lifesaving safety tips shared with staff at the Ministry of International Business and International Transport last Friday at their Baobab, Warrens, St. Michael office, as the curtain came down on the World Maritime Week of activities held under the theme: 100 Years After the Titantic – Safety of Life at Sea.
Lifeguard, Swim and First Aid Instructor, Christopher Gajadhar, warned the staff against using floatation devices in the water. “There was a woman who was lying on a float at one of the beaches and she fell asleep. When she woke up she was far out [to sea],” he recalled.
Gajadhar stressed that such devices should not be used at beaches, especially for children. “They can become very dangerous, even beach balls. People come close to losing their lives trying to go after balls. Those things were made for swimming pools,” he stressed.
He also implored the staff to seek medical attention if they were ever caught in a situation where they almost drowned. “It is very important that you go to the doctor so they can check your lungs, pump water off your lungs and keep you under observation,” he said.
He also encouraged the staff to always swim at beaches that had a lifeguard present, and warned them against swimming along the island’s East Coast, and in the popular “Hot Pot”. “The West Coast is better for swimming. Even the South Coast has challenges with the current,” he said.
Gajadhar further encouraged the staff to use the sandiest spots on beaches for swimming and avoid the rocks. Moreover, he advised persons to always swim with a partner and parallel to the shore.
Meanwhile, Lifeguard, Corey Antrobus, stressed the importance of adhering to the warnings and flags posted on beaches, the instructions of lifeguards, and also urged people not attempting rescues on their own, especially when they could not swim.
However, he did give tips on what to do should they find themselves at the beach and see someone drowning. “First talk to the person and tell them to throw their hands and kick their feet. If that does not work find something to throw to the person, like a floatation device which could be a rope, a gallon drum or even a football. Then reach out to the person and do a human chain until you reach the person.
“Never dive into the water trying to save a person’s life,” he cautioned, noting that people have died as a result of trying to save another person from drowning. (BGIS)