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The NSRI RSA Safetrx contributed to the successful rescue of a surfskier off-shore of Millers Point on Thursday.
Darren Zimmerman, NSRI Simons Town station commander, said:
At 14h11, Thursday, 9 July, NSRI Simons Town 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 coast-watcher and an NSRI sea rescue vehicle responded to Partridge Point.Additional NSRI Simons Town coast-watchers 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.The NSRI commends the surfskier and his fellow surfskiers for taking all precautions while practising their extreme sport.
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
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: 087 094 9774 or 112
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