At 11h49, Saturday, 21st March, NSRI East London duty crew were activated by the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) following reports from lifeguards at Gonubie Beach that they were launching Rescue Malibu Boards to respond to assist two men on a Hobie Cat sail craft appearing to be in difficulty off-shore.
NSRI East London responded towing our LOTTO rescue runner which was launched at Gonubie.
On arrival on-scene, just behind the breakers, local sailors, a 22 year old male and a 21 year old male, were being assisted by lifeguards, using their Rescue Malibu Boards, keeping the Hobie Cat from drifting into the surf line and both men were safe and not injured on their Hobie Cat which had suffered a broken mast stay.
NSRI towed them safely to shore with the damaged Hobie Cat and assisted to get the Hobie Cat back onto her trailer and they required no further assistance.
SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) will investigate the incident.
It appears that lifeguards had appealed to the sailors to rather not launch, because of strong rip currents present, and it appears that they may have had no safety equipment but did have lifejackets.
It was not clear what had caused the stay to break.
NSRI urge anyone launching any kind of craft onto water (inland or coastal waters) to wear a properly fitting life-jacket or PFD (Personal Floatation Device) at all times while on water and carry safety equipment, a handheld VHF radio or cell phone with fully charged batteries and stored in water tight plastic sleeves, a signalling mirror or small computer CD disc (on a neck string), a waterproof torch, a referee whistle, red distress flares, adequate bright coloured gear and know how to use the safety equipment.
Also let a responsible person know your departure time, intended route, return time and stick to the plan – everyone involved in your water experience must have sea rescue and emergency contact numbers programmed into their phones.
NSRI’s Safetrx, a smartphone app for water users, can be viewed at our web page at www.nsri.org.za/safetrx and is recommended to anyone launching any kind of craft onto water.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE
SMS 32287 with your name and a message of support for our Sea Rescue crew. SMS/R1.