Durban, one of NSRI’s founding stations has significant history and rescue experience
While Jonathan Kellermann, Station Commander for National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Station 5 in Durban says his interest in the ocean and boating is what first got him to the volunteer organisation’s door, it is his passion for the people on the station that ultimately made NSRI his second family.
The 24-year-old is currently the NSRI’s youngest Station Commander, and with responsibility for 50 crew, assets, and operations at the station it’s not surprising he says there is “never a dull moment”.
He joined the station in February 2015 and became crew six months later, learning from some of the most experienced crewmen and coxswains in Sea Rescue. “Once I got my crew badge I immediately set my eyes on my coxswain’s ticket. Today I’m also a class 3 coxswain on station, which operates and leads a crew on the rigid inflatable vessels on station. The vessels and opportunities you get while being part of NSRI are world-class.”
Kellermann’s ambition and passion for the station, along with the necessity for change to grow the next generation of volunteer rescue crew ultimately helped him decide to run for station commander, and he accepted the appointment in November 2019.
Since then, the Durban station has seen significant growth, especially in crew numbers which have increased by 100%. “It is not a job I do alone as it’s simply impossible without the tremendous support I get from my fellow crew,” he says.
With over 400 hours on the vessels and countless more at the station, the station is like a second home to Kellermann. “For every hour on the boat there’s probably two hours in washing and all the other tasks on station. I spend at least an hour each day on NSRI related tasks.”
His real job is product owner for a design and manufacturing company, leading a team that designs and develops software and hardware to some of the world’s largest retailers. So it comes as no surprise that he also serves on NSRI’s Future’s Committee looking at opportunities to introduce technology into the organisation.
The self-described “goal orientated, hard worker” plans to further his engineering degree by completing an MBA.
“The youth of South Africa have an incredible ability to make positive changes in their communities and country. All it will take is the ability to step up and make a difference. So step up and make a difference.”
June is celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa to remember the sacrifices of past generations of young people in the attainment of freedom and also to recognise the role of youth in shaping the future of the country. Youth Month 2020 was launched under the theme Youth Power: Growing South Africa together in the Period of COVID-19.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is the charity organisation that saves lives on South African waters – both coastal and inland. The NSRI works to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives. The NSRI is totally reliant on donations and sponsorships in order to do the work of saving lives, changing lives, and creating futures. Visit www.nsri.org.za for more information.
The minimum age for joining the National Sea Rescue Institute as a trainee rescuer is 16 years of age. Some NSRI stations offer a junior academy where candidates are able to join in for some of the theory related training from age 12 onwards. On this basis, these candidates are able to become fully fledged rescue crew once they have passed the minimum number of sea hours and practical assessments shortly after turning 16 – due to the benefit of having completed most of the theoretical aspects sooner.
Please note, that as with any trainee and any volunteer – training conditions and expectations are appropriately matched to the candidate’s ability, to manage their safety.