Richards Bay and Table Bay – Sunday, 14th December :
At 17h30, Thursday, 11th December, NSRI Richards Bay duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), following a request for assistance from the ski-boat TIN TIN reporting to be making slow progress on only one of her two motors after suspected water contamination of the fuel line to one motor, with 5 people onboard, 2 men and 3 women. Skipper Jacques Oosthuizen, 55, requested NSRI assistance as a precautionary measure.
Richards Bay launched a sea rescue craft and rendezvoused with TIN TIN 5 nautical miles North of the Port of Richards Bay and 1 nautical mile off-shore and escorted the casualty boat to Port without incident.
It appears that while at sea water had flooded over the transom causing water to contaminate a fuel line.
At 11h38, Saturday on 13th December, during routine exercises NSRI Table Bay sea rescue craft were called to an unmanned surf-ski floating off Mouille Point.
A search commenced for any possible person that may be in difficulty in the water and at around the same time a surfer contacted NSRI to say that he had witnessed a man abandoning the surf-ski at sea and swimming towards the shoreline.
The surfer confirmed that he had helped the man to get to shore and to get out of the water at Mouille Point and the man, appearing to not be injured, had left the scene.
NSRI Table Bay recovered the surf-ski, a white Broadbill surf-ski with a blue stripe, and have brought the surf-ski to the NSRI Table Bay sea rescue base, but the owner has failed to make contact with NSRI to recover his surf-ski and he has not alerted authorities of his well being.
NSRI urge boaters and paddlers to rather stay with their floating craft, rather than try to swim to shore, and use safety equipment (its recommended to always wear a life-jacket on water and to have red distress flares, a referee whistle, a hand held VHF radio or cell phone in a water tight sleeve, fully charged batteries and the emergency numbers programmed into the phone, a signalling mirror or CD disk - which can be used to reflect sunlight to make it easier to be spotted, a small waterproof torch - practice using your safety equipment prior to launching as you do not want to familiarise yourself with emergency safety equipment for the first time in a real emergency, wear brightly coloured appropriate clothing for the conditions, weather and water temperatures expected, have reflective tape stuck onto the craft and oars, and to always let a responsible person know your departure time, exact route and return time, stick to your plan and if you don’t return on schedule that responsible person should alert sea rescue immediately - the responsible person should have local and National sea rescue emergency numbers programmed into their phone and together formulate an action safety plan to be followed if you do not return as scheduled).
Paddlers are urged to paddle with a buddy system of at least two or more paddlers together.
NSRI urge paddlers to stencil their name and contact numbers on their skis. In this case had it not been for the good presence of mind of the surfer to alert NSRI of the paddlers safety NSRI may well still be searching for a missing paddler.
If you abandon your surfski, boat or kite-board at sea and make it safely to shore please alert NSRI of the situation.
NSRI are appealing to the paddler to contact NSRI, or, anyone who may recognise the surf-ski and who knows who the owner is to contact NSRI.