STATION 20 SHELLY BEACH:
The sea rescue crew of NSRI Station 20, Shelly Beach, are ready to do whatever is needed to ensure the safety of hundreds of tube raft-racers who will tackle the 10-kilometre annual Bullslingers Tube Race down the Umzimkulu River on 16 February 2013.
The volunteers have spent many hours honing their river rescue skills in preparation for the tube race. This training culminated in an intense training session on the river last weekend under the watchful eyes of Station 20 Commander, Mark Harlen, and the station’s Training Officer, Jan Coetzee.
The crew practiced techniques like rescuing people from swift moving currents and rapids, throwing rescue ropes to people in the river, moving into currents in two-and-three-man teams to get to people in trouble as well as first aid techniques in the river.
Sea Rescue personnel from two NSRI stations on the South Coast, Shelly Beach and Port Edward, as well as SAPS Search and Rescue divers and paramedics will be on duty at the rapids and at strategic places to make sure that the participants can safely enjoy their day on the river.
The NSRI will also make use of smaller 4-metre rescue boats on the river as well as rescue swimmers at pre-determined positions.
Harlen expressed his satisfaction with the way the training had gone over the past few weeks.
“Obviously, for us the more training the better, but I think we have got the crew to a level where they are confident and can do what they have to do on the day. Having said that, complacency is not something we accept or live with easily because when things go wrong they tend to go wrong quickly. We have to be ready for that”, he said.