Captivated by JBay Lifeguard

As dejected as it may seem, the word drowning resonates with me, especially during this time of the year.  Drowning is defined as respiratory impairment that typically occurs silently, with only a few people able to wave their hands or call for help.  Statistics show one person drowns every two to three days during summer.  Surprisingly, the number one killer in the sea is the current.  This is a short personal narrative of my experience during December 2018 with the hope that it might save someone’s life.

The NSRI terms a rip current as a strong, narrow, fast-flowing current directed toward the sea that travels up to one to two meters per second. Rip currents usually develop close to the shoreline in very shallow water around a meter deep – just where beach bathers are usually found. My dad always educates me on when and where to swim.  From an early age, I remember spending countless hours on the beach and in the sea every holiday.  By the same token, I see myself as a decent swimmer who is able to swim myself to safety when necessary. 

Last year, my two girls and I were swimming at Dolphins Beach.  As a rule, we never swim deep and stay between the red flags at all times.  When we entered the water, there was no upshot current or at least I could not see any in the water.  After an hour of swimming, suddenly I could not stand.  My kids and I found ourselves in a dark spotted rip current. 

As former Northern Transvaal swimmer, lifesaver and Learn to Swim Instructor I tried to use the force of the waves to help us get back to shore.  Unannounced, a giant wave plunged over us and split us apart.  “Stay Calm, please stay calm”, I yelled!  I was surprised to find my two daughters listening attentively.  My oldest floated on the water imitated by her younger eight year old sister.  Reminiscent of my days as a lifesaver, I decided to swim parallel to the beach and dragged both my daughters along.  My eye caught the lifeguard patrolling the beach on his paddle ski and I gave him an arm signal.  The lifeguard approached us and instructed that we put our hands on the paddle ski as he pulled us ashore. 

I was again reminded of the force and magnitude of the ‘OCEAN’.  Children should never swim without their parents.  Do not panic, do not try to swim out of a current and always go into ‘float mode’.  Raise your arms and keep calm.   Remember, rip currents move at three times the speed of an Olympic swimmer. 

God bless this lifeguard of JBAY.  You know who you are.  Thank you for saving our lives!!!

‘The safest beaches for bathers are those with a lifeguard, who are trained to recognize safe regions – their flagged areas and advice should always be followed.’



Kabelious Reserve Action Group Newsletter - August 2020

It is hard to believe that just over two years ago the Kabeljous Reserve was an unused, overgrown area of land.

Read More
matt mcgillivray 1

JBay Surfer Matt McGillivray Moves Into Championship Tour Qualification Position

North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii – World Qualifying Series (WQS) surfer Matt McGillivray from Jeffreys Bay is primed to qualify for the elite World Surf League’s (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) for 2020 after placing third at the Hawaiian Pro 10,000 tournament on the weekend. Third-placing surfer and Rip Curl teamrider McGillivray had the weight of qualification on his shoulders, as a win would have officially gained him his first year on the CT. But he surfed with casual confidence and found a barrel in the Final to lock in a 5.83, his high score of the heat. ? ?The 22-year-old from Jeffrey’s Bay took on a veteran field in the Semifinals and eliminated two-time Hawaiian Pro winner Michel Bourez (PYF) and eleven-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) en route to the Final. Stealthily stacking the results, McGillivray is in a strong position heading into the Vans World Cup, where his best result was a Quarterfinal finish in 2018.??With this result, McGillivray moves into the top ten on the QS at number 6, jumping eight slots up the rankings. The top 10 surfers qualify for the Championship Tour, if they have not already secured their place by requalifying on the CT. Matt is looking good for qualification © WSL/Keoki.

Read More
logo youpsa

Youth Potential South Africa

Youth Potential South Africa YOUPSA is an education non-profit that benefits disadvantaged rural children and youth in the Gamtoos Valley area.

Read More