Ricochet News

SA's first ladies boat crew gets behind Zwartkops Conservancy

Nov 13, 2018
SA's first ladies boat crew gets behind Zwartkops Conservancy

Bluewater Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, renowned for developing Surf Boat champions, has achieved another first with an all women's competitive surf boat crew.

The ladies, other than training to race against the men at next Saturday's SPAR Family Paddle Day have also thrown their support behind the Zwartkops Conservancy, in an initiative sponsored by Spar Eastern Cape, aimed at encouraging the public to stop using plastic which is harmful to the environment.

Two of the club’s Surf Boats have been resprayed red and carry a simple message: “Stop the use of plastic bags”.

Club members regularly participate in beach clean-ups organised by the Conservancy and in recent times have also participated in the clean-up of the Swartkops River.

Zwartkops Conservancy has for many, many years done sterling work in their fight to clean-up the Swartkops.  Their efforts have included physical collection of rubbish from the river banks and both advice to, and pressure on, the authorities to tackle the root causes of the pollution problems.

“Although our main function is looking after the safety of bathers, we believe our responsibilities go much further,” says Dave Bamber, chairman of the lifesaving club.

“We have all seen the horror pictures in the media that show how we are polluting the oceans and the harm this causes to marine life.  Some of the plastic ends up in the food chain of human beings. Often we don’t think further.  A plastic bag blowing down your street can end up in a storm water drain that empties into the Swartkops River.

“Our Drowning Prevention team members do regular patrols along the beach and pick up plastic bags and fishing gut and hooks which have washed ashore.  These items are a danger to the marine life and can injure bathers.

“The team has also rescued many seals, penguins and sea birds as part of our responsibility towards the environment and regularly reports sewerage spillage to the municipality.

“While the health benefits of a clean river and beach are of paramount importance, there are economic benefits as well. B&Ss, shops and property prices in Bluewater Bay benefit from improved tourism that flows from clean beaches.

The lifesaving club will also be instrumental in next Saturday's SPAR Family Paddle Day taking place on Saturday 24th November which is aimed at raising awareness and funds for the Zwartkops Conservancy.

Images: South Africa's first all girl competitive Surf Boat rowing team under the instruction of sweep Herman Dorfling includes 1st stroke Mercia Morris, 2nd stroke Kayla-Lee Macgregor, 2nd Bow Charne Poulter and bow Carmen Nel. The girls are seen training in their newly branded boat in preparation for next Saturday's SPAR Family Paddle Day on the Swartkops River. 

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