We follow people on Instagram because of various reasons. It could be because they are our neighbors, or family, or friends, we could even follow them because we stalk them or idolize them, or because we think they are cute or because they always post pictures that make you drool. Variety of people on Instagram amass followers because they post pictures of one caliber: travel pictures, cars pictures, gym pictures, beach pictures, etc.
Using this as a preamble, permit us to introduce someone (or something) whose Instagram account is filled with pictures of him on the beach, has about 46.6k followers and a following of just 23 with a bio that reads “Just lovin life. Lol. Nah, jokes. Lookin to reap some peeps this summer. If ur gonna make dumb decisions in the water, I’ll be waiting”
‘The Swim Reaper’ (@iamtheswimreaper) is said to be the Grim Reaper’s beach-loving cousin who is 100% certain to be found taking out of this world summer pics and being on the lookout for when “dimwitted” swimmers make fatal mistakes in the water.
Whether he is pictured playing forming an image of love with his skeleton-like hands, playing beach volleyball or sitting on an inflated swan-like floater, the eccentric person behind the mask brings an aura to his pictures that you can’t help but love, or perhaps it is just his photographer who is that good? He has shown his knack for quotes and dope captions such as in a picture where it seemed like he wrote the words “LIVE LAUGH LOVE” with his scythe and in another where he was pictured holding a signboard that read “DON’T WORRY, LOG WILL CATCH YOU” probably telling the swimmers that there is a huge chance of them being rescued from drowning by a log.
He is like the Grim Reaper in that he dresses in the same rag-like creepily frightening black mask and attire the Grim Reaper is believed to (if movies and cartoons are anything to go by). Also, like the Grim Reaper, the Swim Reaper wields a scythe, which he uses to destroy things he deems unworthy of the beach as he illustrated in a post he captioned: “What do you think this is? Grand Designs?!?! Go do dumb stuff in the water, not the sand. #youvebeentold”
At one point, he was caught on video destroying a sand castle with his weapon. Although unlike his presumed cousin who comes to take people’s lives when it is time for them to die, the Grim Reaper (also called death), the Swim Reaper instead saves people from hazards related to the beach and its waters. He essentially prevents people from successfully setting up a meeting with death.
While the whole idea of a terrifyingly looking, all black wearing, scythe-wielding human ensuring safety might sound gloomy, the reasoning that brought about this initiative was done to send a pretty important message.
Forget the Instagram account for a moment. ‘The Swim Reaper’ is actually an interactive public service announcement launched by the government of New Zealand to encourage water safety. About 105 people die from drowning each year in the island nation (56 lives have already been claimed this year) according to an estimate made by Water Safety New Zealand. These numbers could have been taken lightly if they were not backed up by the fact that these deaths are absolutely preventable with most of them happening courtesy of young males who apparently think swimming drunk is a good idea.
If you currently reside or occasionally visit a place where beach weather is a thing (lucky you), to avoid seeing the Swim Reaper somewhere that is not your phone screen (or comic con), at all times, endeavor to perform your swimming activities with caution. As a matter of fact, regardless of where you live or visit, ensure to take utmost care while performing all activities, be it driving, running, swimming or even talking.
So now that you know it’s all for the greater good and in the spirit of a good scary laugh, you can relax and even follow the Swim Reaper’s Instagram for more tips on safety.