Quentin Power, NSRI Ballito station commander, said:
At approximately 09h50, Friday, 14th September, NSRI Ballito duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from skipper Warren Anthony, on the 17 foot ski-boat Reel Action, reporting motor mechanical failure and motor electrical failure from a battery that reportedly exploded onboard their boat, off-shore of Tongaat Long Beach.
Both crew men onboard Reel Action are experienced boaters and they confirmed that no one was injured when their battery exploded.
They had launched earlier in the day from Durban.
Our NSRI duty crew responded to the scene with the jet-ski SRU Rescue1 in tow and launched from Westbrook Beach.
On arrival on the scene we found both crew men safe on their boat off-shore.
Arrangements were made for replacement loan batteries from Motolek, Ballito, and once the craft was secured a safe distance offshore the batteries were ferried out to the casualty craft and repairs were carried out by our NSRI rescue swimmers and the crew of the casualty craft Reel Action.
Once the casualty craft had been repaired and was underway our crew from NSRI Ballito and NSRI Durban duty controllers monitored Reel Action until she beached safely in Durban and once safely ashore the rescue teams stood down as no futher assistance was required.
At 16h33, Wednesday, 12 September, NSRI Ballito duty crew were activated following a report of 4 kayak fishermen suspected to being blown out to sea in 25 knot off-shore wind, off-shore of Tiffanys Beach.
Our duty crew responding towing our Jetski SRU Rescue1 to be launched on-scene and a shore crew responded to a high point to get better visuals and to begin a search from the shoreline.
On arrival at Tiffanys Beach there was no visual site of the kayak fishermen behind the large swells.
While preparing to launch our sea rescue jet-ski our shore crew at a higher elevation confirmed that they had visuals of the 4 paddlers who were then determined to be 4 men on surf-ski’s and not fishing kayaks as originally suspected by the eye-witness.
Immediately we identified that the surf-ski paddlers were most likely heading on a “down wind” paddle, a popular extreme sport in strong winds.
We then confirmed that the the paddlers are paddlers who are well known to NSRI and they are regular advanced downwind paddlers.
They had appeared to be in difficulty by the eye-witness because they had, in this case, paddled straight out to sea in order to catch the swells back to the same beach, as part of their regular training, instead of doing a normal downwind, making best use of the sea conditions to practice this stage of their routine training and in this case it involved a paddle straight out to sea.
The eye-witness was commended for alerting NSRI immediately on suspecting the paddlers to be in difficulty as there was no way the eye-witness could have known their intentions and we regard this as a false alarm with good intentions.
NSRI stood by until all the surf-ski paddlers were safe on the beach. No NSRI craft were launched in this operation and no further assistance was required.
NSRI urge paddlers (fishing kayaks, canoes and surf-skiers), boaters, sail boarders and in-shore sailors to always use their SAFETRX app, even when they are only going on training runs.
TO REPORT A SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY DIAL 112 FROM A CELLPHONE