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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
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How to do water sports safely

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Safety rules for children and adults are different. See what to look out for.

Especially popular in the summer months sea ​​sports They can be fun, but they also carry risks, especially for those who do not have knowledge or those who do not first control the services provided by such businesses.

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In accordance with Aquatic Accident Observatory created by the non-profit organization Safe Water Sports, for 2021, there was no accident in the marine recreational facilities, while in inland waters (swimming pools, hotel pools, rivers, lakes) there was a decrease of 72% compared to 2019, 65% reduction in fatalities in recreational activities and no fatal accidents of minors in recreational activities for 2021. Although the data from the last two years are encouraging, it needs constant vigilance and attention from someone who chooses this way of beach fun for himself or for his child.

“The most basic thing for a child to do a water activity / sport is to know how to swim well. Next, the parent should have checked through the Safe Water Sports app if the marine recreation company has a legal license as well as the required license for the desired water sport. Finally, the parent should be aware that the age of the child, because the age requirements vary by water sport, should be higher than the minimum set by law and therefore can also be informed through the application, along with the other safety rules set by law “, notes Panagiotis Paschalakis, founder and president of Safe Water Sports, speaking to APE-MPE.

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The initiative for the creation of the Organization started on the occasion of a tragic event that happened in the summer of 2014 in Mykonos, when a 10-year-old child, Michael Paschalakis, lost his life doing water sports with his friends. Michael’s father, Panagiotis Paschalakis, decided to act so that the same would not happen to other children by creating this Organization.

As he says in APE-MPE, there are specific things that one must pay close attention to before doing water sports. “Initially, the maritime leisure company must have a license to be controlled by the Coast Guard. If the marine recreation company has water sports which are performed by speedboats, then the pilot must be a water ski instructor and there must be an observer on board, a second person who will monitor the towers in case of emergency. Every marine recreation business must monitor the weather, consult the digital anemometer and monitor the ceilings for each water sport. The equipment and life jackets provided must be in good condition and the appropriate age limits must be observed when renting a water sport “.

Safety rules for children and adults are different. “Minors can not rent jet skis. Not even adults who do not have a speedboat license from the Coast Guard. Some water sports, which can be read in the Safe Water Sports app but also at www.safewatersports.com, e.g. The sea parachute is allowed to minors, but over fourteen (14) years, and with the consent of the person exercising parental care, which also confirms that the minor knows how to swim “, notes Mr. Paschalakis.

THE Safe Water Sports non-profit has been active since 2015 with the main goal of preventing drowning and maritime accidents. The Agency’s actions aim to enhance safety in the aquatic environment in cooperation with the private and public sectors, as well as to inform and raise awareness of society, especially children and young people, on issues related to their water safety, the sea, water sports and other leisure activities done in it.

The Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, has contributed to legislative changes related to water safety in order to make the wider institutional framework stricter, in relation to the applicable safety rules, violations, fines and penalties. Such as the Presidential Decree on the operation of lifeguard schools and lifeguard coverage on beaches and the General Regulation on water sports and recreation that have entered into force with the participation and contribution of the Organization.

At the same time, Safe Water Sports developed and granted free of charge to the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy of Greece as well as the Port Police of Cyprus, the innovative “Integrated Information System of Controls & Inspections”. Through this system, the port authorities now manage electronically all the licenses of companies and professionals (lifeguard coverage of beaches, water sports, day boats, etc.), carry out with mobile devices and special software (app) the controls and inspections that are carried out on a regular and extraordinary basis, monitor infringements and fines imposed, control the performance of port authorities and identify potential gaps in controls.

Mr. Paschalakis refers to another initiative of the Organization: “In collaboration with TÜV AUSTRIA HELLAS, (independent control and certification body), we have created a Private Certification Model for Water Sports Rental Companies, based on which the respective companies, which they wish, they are certified, if they meet specific safety standards. These companies are awarded the Water Sports Certified Quality Label. The Water Sports Certified Quality certification documents the systematic compliance of the operation of water sports with the requirements of the standard and highlights the company’s commitment to ensure the quality of its services. To date, 39 companies with more than 45 posts have been certified throughout Greece “

Finally, Safe Water Sports has created an application, the Safe Water Sports app through which one can find information in Greece and Cyprus, about the legal water sports companies and water activities per business, the yacht rental companies, the certified water sports companies etc. In addition, the user has the ability to comment and rate a water sports and leisure business but also to report any illegal activity at sea, which endangers the safety and physical integrity of citizens, and through the online platform, to inform the Coast Guard so that it can intervene wherever necessary.

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