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Fiji Time: 5:14 AM on Thursday 31 July

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Daw: Learn basics first

Dawn Gibson
Monday, January 27, 2014

RESEARCH into the subject of drowning in Fiji (which echoes findings in other countries) has indicated that many of the drowning incidences have been the result of carelessness, a lack of basic swimming knowledge and people overestimating their swimming capabilities.

According to Shane Daw, who is helping the National Swimming Council of Fiji to develop their strategic plan, more people need to learn the basics associated with swimming before getting into the water.

"Quite often, we notice that people underestimate the importance of learning basic knowledge — if you learn this at a young age and continue to reinforce it, it can make a big difference," Mr Daw said.

"Also, if you're going to go for a swim, you need to watch the water.

"People think that if the water doesn't seem to be too rough, that it's safe — often that's not the case because if there's a patch of water that doesn't look like the rest of the water, best not to swim there."

Mr Daw said with a number of villages using boats as their main source of transportation, water safety was of particular importance. "You'll see a lot of children getting into these boats and often a number of them don't know basic swimming skills — if this is the case, get lifejackets for them.

"If you're not familiar with the area you're swimming in, do not go in unless you have some supervision or avoid going in altogether.

"Also try not to swim on a full stomach — this makes you tired and prone to cramps in the water.

"Avoid playing roughly in or around water because if you're in a place where the current is going in a different direction, you could drift."

School holidays have come to an end and children are all back in school and with the current weather conditions, swimming would be ideal.

Just be sure you're constantly aware of your surroundings and that you follow very basic steps as Mr Daw has explained.

"The shame of it is that almost all drowning cases are avoidable, so being very careful could make all the difference."


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