Founded in 1967, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) volunteers live Madiba’s principles every minute of every day in service of South African communities, saving lives on South African waters. In Mandela Month, the organisation is celebrating the contributions of their 67-year-old volunteers.
Hout Bay resident Bruce Morgan has been the NSRI’s Station Eight’s duty crew’s shore-based controller on and off for 15 years, drawn to the organisation for its professional ethos and the commitment of volunteer crews.
In 1991, his friend and neighbour Bruce Bodmer, the Station’s crew coxswain, asked if Morgan would consider joining. “I was greatly encouraged by the volunteer commitment of the men and women I found there, and I felt I could be part of the team and contribute in a meaningful way.” After 14 years’ service, he left in 2005 help form the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch and re-joined earlier this year.
His responsibilities include the launch and recovery of the sea rescue craft, operating the radios in the control room, keeping an accurate log of events on the water for the duration of the exercise or operational call-out, maintaining regular radio contact with the rescue craft while at sea, our 4×4 support vehicle and maintaining contact with NSRI operations control room, as well as flanking NSRI support stations, and land-based support such as Metro EMS, SAPS and Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, his responsibility as safety officer for the duty crew is even more paramount as he must ensure that safety protocols at the base are maintained at all times.
“I was an active an enthusiastic participant in training courses such as first-aid, boat handling and navigation. Most importantly for me was the ethos of teamwork that was instilled into us as a crew; we supported each other implicitly at all times, while participating in rescues, sometimes in gale-force winds, and lengthy tows of fishing vessels which had suffered break-downs.”
“I think it is the camaraderie that we instil as a crew and as a station that I love the most; everyone is committed to being the best that they can be, in support of their crew and for the station as a whole. The leadership structure is strong and decisive, and each crew member is made to feel part of a team, which encourages you to give of your best at all times.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, since retirement from the shipping industry at the end of 2018, Morgan has qualified as a regional tour guide with the Department of Tourism, and has also qualified through the international TEFL Academy to teach English to foreign-language students. He remains a member of the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch and does regular night-time patrols.
“I am also a musician and have been playing bass guitar at our local church and with numerous bands for the past 48 years. Apart from that, I also enjoy being a grandfather to my three granddaughters.”
Morgan says that no matter who you are, “there is always something you can do to bring cheer or support to someone who is less fortunate than yourself; by just giving of your time, you can make a difference in someone else’s life”.
Members of the public can assist the NSRI by either making a donation or purchasing the Sea Rescue clothing range labelled “Station 67” via the website – www.nsri.org.za