Greece’s National Public Health Organization (EODY) has teamed up with the country’s Safe Water Sports initiative to promote awareness and strengthen safety policies and regulations with regard to recreation at sea.
“Prevention of accidents at sea is very high on EODY’s priorities and our cooperation with Safe Water Sports will be long-term with a common goal to reduce the number of drownings in our country,” said EODY President Panagiotis Arkoumaneas.
Under the agreement, EODY will cooperate with Safe Water Sports to organize awareness-raising campaigns, work with municipalities to develop a series of relevant initiatives, and organize online training programs.
Besides raising awareness on the importance of recreation safety at sea, the partnership is setting foundations through a series of initiatives and actions including inspections and signage on beaches, stricter rules covering sea sports operations, informing citizens regarding the safety of Greek beaches, surveillance of accidents resulting from water activities, as well as launching an information campaign on safety at sea for the elderly.
Public bodies contributing their support to the initiatives include the shipping and health ministries, port authority police, and the coast guard.
The founder of Safe Water Sports, Panagiotis Paschalakis recently presented an app and website that provides useful information and guidance including whether a beach has a lifeguard, if a beach is shallow or deep, wind conditions, and availability of disabled access, among others.
Speaking during an event, Paschalakis underlined the importance of educating children on how to enjoy the sea safely, which he said should be a mandatory requirement at grade schools. In this direction, Safe Water Sports has drawn up a program with the approval of the education ministries in Greece and Cyprus.
Safe Water Sports is an NGO that came in response to a 2014 accident on Mykonos, that led to the death of a 10-year-old child. At the same time, it should be noted that every year, more than 50,000 Europeans are injured during water sports or boating activities with drowning the second leading cause of injury or death.