8– 10 October 2019. Durban, South Africa

Thursday 10 October saw the World Conference on Drowning Prevention come to a close. 

A global biennial event, the conference focussed on the very latest in research, innovation, ideas and best practice, with one aim: a world where everyone can enjoy the water, safely. 

Representing RLSS UK were:

Presentations from the RLSS UK team included Janet Wilson introducing RLSS UK’s Club Development Programme and Mike Dunn, on measuring the efficacy of drowning prevention education and locally-focussed water safety plans.

The opening ceremony national anthem was sung by local pupils of St. Mary’s Girls’ Choir with another highlight coming later, courtesy of Jo Talbot. Jo presented a clear and detailed look at understanding the appearance of a drowning casualty, as well as the importance and value of including water safety skills, within the learn to swim framework. 

Later in the schedule, home-grown hero ‘Sharkboy’ Achmat Hassiem, pulled on the heartstrings with his motivational account of how, despite losing his lower leg to a great white shark, he went onto Paralympic glory, winning bronze for South Africa in the 100m butterfly at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Achmat’s story is a testament to triumph in the face of adversity, acceptance and even a forgiveness of sorts; Achmat remains an Ocean Conservationist and Global Sharks Guardian for the United Nations Save Our Sharks Coalition.

You can read more about Achmat’s incredible story, here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achmat_Hassiem