St Stithians pupil, Brady Rothschild, did his school initiated community service at NSRI Station 14 (Plettenberg Bay). This is his story.
In 2008 while I was attending St Stithians Boys’ College, we were encouraged to complete 16 hours of community service. Instead of doing the usual predictable things like helping at the SPCA or Animals in Distress, I decided to follow my love for water and help with Sea Rescue. I got in touch with Plettenberg Bay’s Station 14 Commander, Ray Farnham. From there I mainly dealt with Bruce Noble, head of training, in Plett. Bruce spends every Wednesday night putting the approximately 30 crew members through a rigorous training regime.
When I arrived at Station 14, I was very nervous, because I was just a 14 year old boy from Johannesburg. I didn’t know anyone there, and I was with heroes, people who put their lives on the line to save others. The crew was really friendly and immediately gave me a tour of the station. On my 1st day there I went with the crew on the boat to watch their training exercises and to learn more about what they do. We took the boats out to the Gap on Robberg and I watched as the crew practiced climbing onto the rocks. We then returned to the station and I helped wash the boat and prepare the boat in case of an emergency call-out. From the 1st moment out on the boat I was hooked.
At the time Station 14 had 3 boats, namely Rescue Engen, Sally-Joan and Ian Hepburn. Subsequently they have been donated a new boat to replace Engen. The new boat was sponsored by Airlink and so it was named after the company. Discovery also sponsored a jet ski (Rescue Runner). The station bought a 4×4 to help with land rescues. Plett is a small town, so all crew members are always active and must respond to all callouts. They are constantly trying to raise funds, but they raise most of their funds in December through golf days and street collections. The crew members at Station 14 are very welcoming and have a good team atmosphere. Everyone has their place in the team and everyone does their duty.
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Station 14, so much so that every time I go to Plett, I go in and visit them on a Wednesday night at training and help with the boats and rescues where I can. I can thoroughly recommend Sea Rescue and especially Station 14 as a community service experience for any young man who loves the sea and wants to learn more about its dangers.