This week Ian Klopper, ex-Kommetjie Station Commander, was awarded Sea Rescue’s Directors thanks for his exceptional service to Sea Rescue.
This is the citation:
The directors of the National Sea Rescue Institute accord their thanks to Ian Klopper on the occasion of his standing down from the position of station commander of Station 26, Kommetjie, on 20 September 2011 – for the second time. Ian was the founding station commander of the Kommetjie station, holding the position from December 1996 until September 1999. In December 2010 he was asked to take over Station 26 again and, although very busy building up his business, immediately agreed. Now that an appropriate successor has been appointed it gives us great pleasure to acknowledge with gratitude the tremendous amount that Ian has done for the sea-going community in the Kommetjie area.
Ian Klopper began his NSRI career in January 1982 at the age of sixteen, as a Junior with Station 8, Hout Bay. After completing his two years’ military service he rejoined Station 8 and rose rapidly through the ranks there. In 1994 he became the youngest Class I cox’n in the NSRI.
A year later Ian moved to Kommetjie. As a member of Station 8 he was well aware of the need for a sea rescue station in the Kommetjie area and he decided to start a station there. Ian has an engaging personality and had no difficulty in gathering a nucleus of crew together and getting the community’s approval for the project. The problem was to find a suitable spot to put up a station building.
This difficulty continues to this day, 13 years later, despite Ian’s continuous efforts to solve the problem. At the beginning, the station’s rescue boat and vehicle were kept by one or other of the crew and individuals had to look after the wetsuits and other assets. Meetings and training sessions were held in crewmen’s homes. For the past 10 years the station has had the use of a garage some 400 metres from the Kom slip, into which all gear has had to be stuffed. When meetings and training took place everything had to be moved into the open so that chairs could be set out; in the winter rainy season the situation was almost intolerable. In spite of all this, Ian managed to develop and maintain an excellent esprit de corps amongst his crew. In all his years in command the station never missed a service call.
We are delighted and grateful that Ian is staying on as an active cox’n on the station to continue contributing to the achievement of the NSRI’s aim of saving lives on South African waters.