The Western Cape Strategic Framework for Drowning Prevention and Water Safety has been developed to support the prioritisation of programmes that will help prevent drowning and promote water safety in the Western Cape. The Framework is a strategic endeavour to change key environmental, social and behavioural factors that contribute to the causation of drowning. The Strategic Framework highlights evidence-led recommendations for the Western Cape Local Government Department to recommend operational plans that utilise proven drowning prevention interventions. The Framework draws on the public health and disaster risk perspectives, which have been successfully applied across settings to integrate the efforts of multiple sectors in the implementation of evidence-led drowning injury prevention strategies.

The Framework highlights the most common water bodies where drowning occurs and the populations most at risk in the Western Cape. While the Framework targets the prevention of risk factors specific to these priority groups and settings, it also emphasises the promotion of supportive institutional factors. The Strategic Framework focuses on the prevention of fatal and non-fatal drowning as well as the promotion of water safety. The Framework requires the formation of strong collaborations between provincial departments and other external stakeholders. It provides a framework for partners in the water safety and drowning prevention sector to collaborate on common service delivery activities to achieve the areas for action listed in the Framework. The following objectives have been identified:

1) Establish provincial information strategies and systems based on existing platforms,

2) Strengthen advocacy and enforcement of priority policy measures,

3) Promote multi-sectoral partnerships and water safety collaborations,

4) Strengthen institutional prevention capacity,

5) Strengthen public and specialised education and community awareness,

6) Develop priority barrier interventions, and

7) Develop priority infrastructural interventions.

This Strategic Framework offers a platform from which Departments can implement priority drowning prevention and water safety promotion programmes. The Framework specifies strategic objectives, each with recommended strategies. Specific injury prevention implementation plans will be developed separately by departments or partner agencies, and integrated into existing plans. Some of these interventions are already in place across various departments and have therefore been incorporated as part of this integrated strategy.

The Framework makes the following recommendations:

1) Establish provincial information systems,

2) Promote water safety and drowning prevention research,

3) Develop municipal by-laws for fencing off and covering open bodies of water,

4) Tighten the enforcement of existing safety laws and regulations,

5) Establish a provincial water safety task team,

6) Increase the employment of first responders such as lifeguards,

7) Teach children basic swimming skills and water safety knowledge,

8) Enhance the awareness, knowledge and skills of first responders,

9) Teach caregivers the importance of supervision,

10) Enhance public awareness,

11) Fence off and/or cover swimming pools and cover other water bodies, and

12) Develop supportive infrastructure. 


Learn more about the Western Cape Strategic Framework for Drowning Prevention