Minister Marais Learns To Sail To Raise Awareness on Water Safety | Western Cape Government


Minister Marais Learns To Sail To Raise Awareness on Water Safety

17 November 2015

The summer season is upon us and typically the December school holidays as well. As a coastal province, it is usually during this time that we experience a spike in drowning incidents. Since 2011, according to the Forensic Pathology Service, there have been 735 drowning incidents reported in the Western Cape:

Financial year

Drowning incidents












These high numbers are concerning and show a need for awareness to be raised on water safety, especially amongst our youth. It is for this reason that Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais has embarked on a month long awareness drive: Water Safety through Aqua Sport.

Yesterday, 16 November 2015, Minister Marais embarked on the second leg of the “Water Safety through Aqua Sports” initiative in Mossel Bay. Minister Marais joined the Garden Route Sailing Academy who voluntarily teaches children from the community the lifesaving sport of swimming and how to sail. The sailing lesson allowed Minister Marais to again engage with the youth in the area to raise awareness on water safety and decreasing the high number of drowning incidents in the Western Cape.

The launch of this initiative took place at Strandfontein Pavilion earlier this month where Minister Marais learnt to surf with children from the community.  Facilitating the surfing lesson was Nigel Savel, founder of the 9Miles Project. Both the 9Miles Project and the Garden Route Sailing Academy use the aqua sports of surfing and sailing as a platform for transformation by focusing on vulnerable youth in their communities.  They incorporate water safety awareness through swimming, surfing and sailing lessons in a fun and informative way in order to tackle social ills.

Before making her way to the water, Minister Marais commended Rob and Elfie Holden, coaches of the Garden Route Sailing Academy on the extraordinary contribution they selflessly make to bring about positive change in our communities through aqua sport.

Minister Marais said, “At the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport we encourage excellence and inclusiveness in sport and culture through creative partnerships. Although learning to sail had my heart racing, it was so worthwhile to witness  the children displaying their sailing skills with pride and joy. Initiatives like the Garden Route Sailing Academy and the 9Miles Project not only raise awareness about water safety, but will have a long lasting positive impact on the children who participate in these programmes.”

Minister Marais’ next stop on her water safety agenda is cleaning up Monwabisi Beach with the Western Province Rugby team on Tuesday, 24 November 2015.

Media Enquiries: 

Stacy McLean
Spokesperson for Anroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport
Tel: 021 483 4426
Cell: 083 504 1171