Twenty cases of drowning reported in Gauteng in December

About 20 drownings have been reported in Gauteng since the beginning of December, provincial police said on Friday.

Spokesperson Eugene Opperman said this has resulted in police partnering with communities to promote water safety awareness.

Opperman said the initiative was an attempt to make holidaymakers, especially at dams and rivers, more aware of the importance of water safety.

Members from the water police at the Bronkhorstspruit Dam together with water marshals and a number of holidaymakers have already kick-started the initiative.

They have also made it a point to speak to as many vessel users as possible about water safety.

Police used the opportunity to remind vessel owners and skippers about the national regulations on small vessel safety.

”These regulations now place a heavy responsibility on vessel owners, skippers and even boating clubs,” Opperman said.

”In many ways it is ultimately the responsibility of the vessel owner and skipper of a vessel to see to it that they fully comply with the regulations,” he said.

He said any inland water certificates of competency and certificates of fitness were also required in respect of the operation of powerboats with a horsepower of more than 15. These also included most jetskis.

”The owner and skipper of a vessel must ensure that the condition of the vessel, including its structures and its safety appliances are well maintained and aboard at all times in order to comply fully with the relevant regulations.”

”The skippers of certain categories of small vessels must also hold a skipper’s licence, which is not transferable,” Opperman said.

”It is essential that owners and skippers comply with the law, and in most instances ignorance of the law will not be an excuse,” he said. – Sapa

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