Congratulations have been pouring in for Richards Bay Class 1 Coxswain Mike Patterson who joined Sea Rescue on the 3rd February 1972 – when current Richards Bay station commander Dorian Robertson was 5 years old!
Considering that Sea Rescue started in 1967… forty years service is an amazing achievement.
Well done – and thank you Mike!
Below are a few words from Mike and a photographic record through the years complied by fellow Richards Bay volunteer Gavin Fordham.
Time has certainly passed very quickly. When I think back to the day when I walked into Trimcraft to check on our ski boat repairs, and El Williams conned me into signing up as a NSRI crewman who would be prepared to assist the Durban Station when there was a rescue North of the Tugela … using whatever ski boat we could get our hands on at the time … how different life would have been if I had not agreed.
We must have made a difference to many people over the years either by saving their lives or rescuing their craft and it has been rewarding, but my ski boat fishing came to and end as did my motor racing and a few other things, but looking back I would do it again without regret.
Many NSRI crew have come and gone and each one played a role in the organisation. We have always had enough competent crew to enable us to react to any calls for assistance no matter how bad the weather conditions were, and the record will show that we seldom failed to make a difference.
I believe that a cox’n is only as good as his crew allow him to be, and the crew who served with me over the years always gave there best when necessary. Often in extreme situations.
It is this team effort that makes Sea Rescue the successful organisation it is.
I hope to be be around for many more years.
However life is unpredictable. The only test in Sea Rescue will always be the confidence of the crew to accept and trust you as their cox’n, without question or doubt in extreme conditions.