Over the holiday period Sea Rescue volunteer crews around the country gave up hundreds of hours to rescue 139 people in 122 operations. It is a great privilege to be able to help others and ask for nothing in return. Sometimes the reward is as simple as a thank you, or a couple of dolphins pacing a Sea Rescue boat for a few seconds. As happened to the Gordon’s Bay crew. (Video by Gordon’s Bay Coxswain Ivan Bauser.)
“As our children go back to schools around the country it is time to look at the rescues carried out by our Sea Rescue volunteers and see what we can learn from them,” said NSRI CEO Dr Cleeve Robertson.
Over the 2015 / 2016 festive season NSRI rescued a total of 139 people during 122 rescue operations.
“The statistic that stands out most strongly is that 41 people – almost a third of those assisted by Sea Rescue – had been caught in rip currents. Rip currents claimed 22 lives in the first week of 2016. We rescued 19 people caught in rips and others were assisted by other organisations or were able to self rescue. ”
“Although over the past year we put substantial effort into rip current education, this is an area that needs more work with communities and officials. There must be improved signage on dangerous beaches and we need to educate beach goers, making sure that they know that a rip current is the single biggest danger that they face on beaches,” said Dr Robertson.
“Our crews responded to 21 fatal drowning incidents and 17 non-fatal drowning incidents between 1 December and 13 January 2016. Fourteen of these incidents involved children. Eight children drowned. Sixty percent of children who got into difficulty drowned. This terrible fact indicates children’s vulnerability and the need for greater preventative intervention. ”
“The busiest days for NSRI crew were 27 Dec with 11 rescues and 1 Jan with 10 rescues.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sea Rescue volunteers, and their spouses and families, for all of the time that they put into serving their communities over this time. You made a difference out there. Thank you,” said Dr Robertson.