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The NSRI appeals for public caution with high, rough seas and gale force winds predicted to pursue through the weekend With a second of three cold fronts forecast by the SA Weather Service to land along the Western Cape coastline late on Friday and into Saturday and with the first of these three cold fronts that has now moved further along the Western Cape coastline towards the Eastern Cape coastline the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is appealing for public caution with high, rough seas and gale force winds being experienced along the coastal regions of South Africa lasting into Monday and possibly into Tuesday.NSRI responded to three incidents related to the severe weather during Thursday in Knysna, Millers Point and Mossel Bay.A third large cold front forecast for Monday is currently being monitored by the SA Weather Service (SAWS).There is a concern that the lulls being experienced in between these cold fronts may give a false impression of improving conditions.Localised flooding, storm surges, gale force winds and high seas are some of the winter weather phenomena currently being experienced from these cold fronts.Gale force winds and high seas are being experienced along the coast and the forecast cold fronts may result in damage to infrastructure and beach erosion. Disruption to Port and small harbour activities can be expected.'With storms and high seas along coastal regions our concern is for smaller vessels at sea which may have difficulty navigating through the conditions.“We are also appealing to boaters, paddlers, beach goers, surfers, coastal hikers, anglers and the public to be cautious around the coastline and to follow South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecasts,” said NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson, on Friday. “We urge beach goers and coastal hikers to stay away from the coastline, as dangerous waves or surges may catch them off-guard and could potentially sweep them off the rocks along the shoreline,” added Robertson. Sea going craft are encouraged to download the free NSRI RSA SafeTrax app - RSA Safetrx contributed to the successful rescue of a surfskier off-shore of Millers Point on Thursday.NSRI RSA SafeTrx app includes a number of new features for small craft users:
    • An Emergency Call button which allows you to quickly make a distress call from the application
    • Share your real-time track with family and friends during your trip
    • Build and maintain your own safety prelaunch checklist
    • Choose and alert individual emergency contacts for each trip
    • Automatically initiates a search process should you not close your trip before your chosen ETA
SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY: 087 094 9774 or 112 The incidents occurred as follows:
KNYSNAMarc van Staden, NSRI Knysna duty coxswain, said:At 12h12, Thursday, July, 9, NSRI Knysna duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of 2 men on a small dinghy appearing to be in difficulty on Knysna Lagoon.Our sea rescue craft Jaytee IV and Jolen were launched and on arrival on the scene we found both men safe on their small dinghy.They were attempting to row towards the shore but in the strong gusting winds they had drifted onto a sand bank on the lagoon where we found them and although they weren't in any danger they needed assistance to get to shore.A towline was rigged from our sea rescue craft and we towed them to Belvedere without incident and once safely ashore no further assistance was required.MOSSEL BAY:Andre Fraser, NSRI Mossel Bay station commander, said:At 14h05, Thursday, 9 July, NSRI Mossel Bay duty crew were activated following reports from a member of Garden Route Scuba reporting that he was witnessing a local yacht that had broken away from her mooring off-shore of Santos Beach.The small unmanned yacht was drifting in strong gusting winds towards the Dollosse at Quay 4, Mossel Bay harbour, and fears were she would be smashed against the Dollosse.NSRI Mossel Bay duty crew responded to our NSRI sea rescue station and the sea rescue craft St Blaze Rescuer was launched.The owner of the yacht, from George, was contacted.On arrival on the scene it was found that the keel of the yacht had snagged on the rope that demarcates the channel zone of the launching slipways and the rope prevented the yacht from drifting onto the Dollosse.A towline was rigged from our sea rescue craft and without incident we towed the yacht into the harbour where she was moored safely and no further assistance was required.The owner of the yacht will make arrangements when the weather subsides to get her back to her mooring off-shore of Santos beach.
SIMONS TOWN:Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simonstown station commander, said:At 14h11, Thursday, 9 July, NSRI Simonstown duty crew were activated following an NSRI RSA Safetrx emergency alert received by NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) from a local man on a surfski.The NSRI RSA Safetrx position showed the emergency alert being dispatched from off-shore of Partridge Point and drifting at 2 knots out to sea away from the shoreline.Almost at the same time that the NSRI RSA Safetrx alert was received fellow paddlers who had reached Millers Point called NSRI to report one their group of paddlers was overdue.They had been taking advantage of severe weather, strong winds and high seas to paddle downwind between Fish Hoek and Millers Point.The surfskiers called NSRI Simons Town duty controllers to report one of the surfskiers in their group had not reached Millers Point as expected and they were raising the alarm.NSRI EOC continued to track the NSRI RSA Safetrx position which was on a heading going out to sea at a slow drift speed raising fears that the paddler may have capsized.NSRI Simons Town duty crew responded to the NSRI Simons Town sea rescue station and 2 sea rescue craft were launched, Spirit of Safmarine III and Spirit of Surfski 2.CMR (Cape Medical Response) were activated and a CMR response vehicle, an NSRI Simons Town coastwatcher and an NSRI sea rescue vehicle responded to Partridge Point.Additional NSRI Simons Town coastwatchers were alerted to scan the ocean and WC Government Health EMS were placed on alert.The 2 sea rescue craft arrived on the scene and during a brief search of the area the surfskier was located and recovered onto the sea rescue craft and his surfski was recovered.The man was treated for early stages of hypothermia and he was brought to our sea rescue station where after being rewarmed and medically assessed by CMR paramedics he required no further assistance and friends came to fetch him.Surfskier's are known to take advantage of the North Westerly winds to do the reverse downwind run from Fish Hoek to Millers Point.In the normal South Easterly winds they head from Millers Point to Fish Hoek.Conditions were ideal for the reverse downwind run from Fish Hoek to Millers Point on Thursday but while they were paddling the wind direction shifted from a North Westerly wind to a West North Westerly wind and then further off-shore to a West South Westerly wind.All of the paddlers had missed this sudden shift in wind and while they had managed to reach Millers Point safely the casualty surfskier was caught in these shifting winds which caused him to miss the usual turn-in towards Millers Point and caught by the shift in the wind direction he was being pushed further South before then being swept further out to sea.Despite his efforts to paddle back towards Millers Point and making no progress he activated the emergency button on the NSRI RSA Safetrx app which raised the initial alarm alerting NSRI EOC that he was in trouble.When our sea rescue crew found him he was still paddling and he had not capsized as we had initially feared.NSRI commend the surfskier and his fellow surfskiers for taking all precautions while practising their extreme sport.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) is the charity organisation that saves lives on South African waters – both coastal and inland. Our goal is to prevent drowning through rescue operations, education and prevention initiatives.Operating from base stations along the SA coastline, and on inland dams, our rescue volunteers are on call, at all hours, every day of the year. Our rescue crew receives no payment and neither do we charge the people we rescue.We visit schools around the country, teaching children about water safety. Our drowning prevention measures include our online training academy, with free courses for crew and the public, emergency signage, Pink Rescue Buoys for emergency flotation, rescue swimmers, lifeguards, and active patrols during peak seasons.Our organisation is totally reliant on donations and sponsorships. This enables us to do the work of saving lives, changing lives, and creating futures.You can do your bit to assist. Please visit for more information.SEA RESCUE EMERGENCY: 112 or 087 094 9774
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