Sea Rescue is a charity staffed by volunteers who are on call, day and night throughout the year. They have rescue bases along the coast and on inland dams. Their rescue crew are not paid and we do not charge the people who they rescue. Their goal is to prevent drowning through education, through preventative measures and through rescue. Year after year they update and improve on their skills and techniques and continuously investigate new technologies.
We are often asked about the training courses we offer our crew, we have now built an online learning site and will start sharing some of our material. These courses are easy to follow from a computer, tablet or phone – the material is presented in modules which you can do in your own time and at your own pace. The first course available is our Skippers Guide for small vessels which is used as preparation for the SAMSA skippers exam.
This is a tracking app, used internationally and customised for South Africa. SafeTrx is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Enter your vessel details, the people on board, your planned route and your ETA. And load your emergency contact details (i.e spouse / person at home). Then, if you are late or if you press the panic button, NSRI is alerted and we are sent your position.
False alarms do happen so, while we are preparing to launch, a controller will call you or your emergency contact to verify if it was a mistake. No one minds the mistakes – they are a good opportunity to test the system.
Download it now and try it out. It takes the “search” out of search and rescue. And the best part – it’s for free !
In November 2017, NSRI launched the Pink Rescue Buoy programme. The intention is to provide easily accessible emergency flotation at drowning hot spots.
Beaches initially targeted were: Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay, Dappat se Gat, Strand and Monwabisi. As funding came in, more buoys were deployed. To date 300 buoys have been installed around the coastline and at rivers, dams and swimming pools.
One year later NSRI report a resounding success. 15 people have been rescued in a 12 month period.
Not only has the programme gained wide support locally, it has also attracted international interest and this month we attend the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) awards ceremony in Norway, where the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy project is a finalist in the category Innovation and Technology.
Despite initial concern that these buoys would be stolen, for the most part of the year we ran at less than 10% being stolen, peaking at 22% being stolen. Many of the buoys that had been taken were soon returned, fuelling our belief that awareness and community buy-in are critical to the success of the programme.
Sadly at Strand Beach we have had repeated theft of buoys at 5 sites along that 2km stretch of coastline (from Mostertsbaai to The Pipe). Despite local sponsorship and an extensive media and social media campaign, theft of the Pink Buoys in the Strand left us with no other alternative but to withdraw the Pink Rescue Buoys from this area. This was not an easy decision. This is a known drowning hot spot and we remain extremely concerned about this area as the festive season approaches.
The buoys are pink because that is the most visible colour in the surf, and they are unique to NSRI, so if you find one that is not on its pole at the beach, you can hand it in at any surf shop, Police Station or call NSRI.
NSRI’s head of Drowning Prevention, Andrew Ingram says: “We have proven that there is a definite need for these Pink Rescue Buoys. There is no doubt in our mind that this is a project worth investing in. 15 people rescued with the help of a Pink Rescue Buoy in 12 months speaks for itself.”
“The Pink Rescue Buoys are a community initiative, sponsored by the community, for the community. When a community works together the Pink Rescue Buoys remain at their posts, ready for action in the event of an emergency. Just as you would talk to your families about looking both ways before you cross the street, please talk to your families about the Pink Rescue Buoys. Look for one when you get to a beach, and if you see someone carrying one away from the beach, stop them, and explain that a stolen buoy, is a stolen life.”
SIDE NOTE: In an effort to support this worthwhile program, Marine Safety recently donated funds to NSRI to install 3 Pink Buoys in the Southern Cape region.