Today Station 26, Kommetjie, becomes a teenager. It is 13 years since the station started up and under the steady hand of Station Commander Ian Klopper, they are hoping against hope that their own home is not too far off.
Currently their base and their 4.7 m RIB “FNB Wavescapes” is in a garage at Stepping Stones, a rehabilitation home 400m from the launching slip, their 4×4 rescue vehicle and 5.5 m RIB “Rotary Winelands” is stored at Komicx fish factory 6 km from the slip., and the tractor is in a secured parking lot 12km from the slipway. There is no running water inside the single garage “base”, one plug and one lightbulb, no toilet, no washing facilities, no showers and to have a meeting, the rescue boat must be pushed out first as the area is so small.
It has been a long, hard slog, to get a site for the new base passed and just when it looked like they could start building … another hurdle has been put in the way.
There is an electricity sub station on the land so it must be sub-divided, and this could take up to 5 months.
“It is very frustrating,” says Ian.
“Kreef season is upon us, and we need to be able to respond fast to overturned boats and people in the water. Valuable time is wasted which could mean the difference between life and death. It takes us up to 10 minutes rushing around collection our assets to get them to the launching site!
“ Many locals think that we take too long to get to the beach in an emergency, but it’s the location of the assets that is delaying our response times, he says.
Despite this Kommetjie has 33 dedicated volunteers and a proud record: they have performed 93 operations, rescued 83 people and helped 39 boats to safety.