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NSRI are appealing to the public to be cautious in and around coastal and inland waterways in this week leading up to Christmas Day.


The concern is that where beaches have been closed temporarily by Covid 19 restrictions more people may go swimming at inland waterways, rivers, lakes and dams and at swimming pools.

We are appealing to the public to be cautious and parents must ensure that children have responsible adult supervision in and around water, and the responsible adult should not be distracted while overseeing children, said Andrew Ingram, NSRI Drowning Prevention Manager. Watching children when they are swimming is the best way to prevent a drowning.

A person who is drowning is unable to call for help. Which makes it obvious that if you are not watching children while they are swimming, you will not know that they are in difficulty, and may be drowning. Because there are sometimes misunderstandings on who is supervising children while they swim we have developed a “SWIMMING MONITOR” ID tag. Print it out, add a lanyard or tie it on a loop of string and the designated swimming monitor wears it around their neck.

The person who is “ON DUTY” should do nothing other than watch the children while they are in the water. The tag should be passed to another responsible adult after half an hour to make sure that there is no lapse of concentration from the person who is “ON DUTY”. The Swimming monitor tag has emergency numbers printed on the front, and on the reverse side are infographics on how to do #BystanderCPR.

To download the swimming monitor ID tag click here

Where beaches are open we appeal to bathers to go to beaches protected by lifeguards and only swim where and when lifeguards are on duty and in between their flags. Boaters, paddlers and sail boarders should download and use the free NSRI RSA SafeTrx cellphone app and have a safety plan in place for emergencies. NSRI’s Free App, RSA Safetrx, is available for download. The NSRI’s free RSA SafeTrx application is available to download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

RSA SafeTrx 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 RSA SafeTrx App monitors your boat journey and automatically alerts Emergency Contacts should you fail to return on time.RSA SafeTrx is a Smartphone App for both Android & Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) that allows you to plan your journey on your Smartphone.

Directly from your Smartphone you can enter your journey details and set off knowing that at the push of a button you can call for help and should you not return by the time given, your Emergency Contact will be alerted and advised to initiate appropriate action. Where an Emergency Contact calls the NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) 0870949774 concerning an overdue trip, they will have access to your location and SafeTrx Trip data through a secure SafeTrx server.Since the RSA SafeTrx app periodically sends your location data back to our servers, the NSRI’s response team can get help directly to you, and quickly.

NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) monitor NSRI RSA SafeTrx.When your craft is underway everyone onboard must be wearing properly fitting and fastened life-jackets and safety should be the full focus of all onboard, said Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO.

NSRI have close to 1500 NSRI and Lifeguard volunteers on high alert to respond to water related emergencies and our colleagues at Lifesaving and the emergency services are fully deployed to assist with safety and to respond to emergencies around the coastline and on inland waters.We are appealing to the public to be cautious and to remain safe during the busy festive season, said Dr Robertson.The NSRI emergency numbers 112 and 0870949774 should be programmed into your phone.

BALLITOQuentin Power, NSRI Ballito station commander, said: On Thursday, 17 December, at 06h50, NSRI Ballito duty crew were activated following a request for assistance from 2 local men on a jetski that was taking water off-shore of Silvermine, Salt Rock.When their jetski started taking on water they called their ski-boat club safety officer who alerted NSRI. In strong currents they drifted 4 nautical miles South from their original position when their jetski overturned and they deployed a smoke maker to mark their position.

In worsening sea conditions and wind speeds increasing 2 local jetskis, that were in the area at the time, were diverted to assist while NSRI Ballito duty crews were mobilised.A local RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat), from the Ballito Sk- Boat Club, was launched by local skipper Danie Van Hysteen, under the command of NSRI Ballito to secure and initiate a tow of the casualty craft towards the inshore.The 2 jetskis that were at that stage standing by on the scene brought both casualty crew from the casualty craft to shore safely and they were not injured.Shore crew from NSRI Ballito and from the Ballito Skiboat Club stood by on the shore to assist to bring the casualty craft through the surf with the aid of the combined teams and the Skiboat clubs tractor. The casualty craft was recovered without incident onto their trailer no further assistance was required.It appears that the port side tubby of the casualty jetski had lost a bolt causing the tubby to flex and move causing a crack in the hull gradually causing an ingress of water that contributed to causing the jetski to submerge and capsize. NSRI commend the cooperation between NSRI Ballito and the Ballito Skiboat Club members.

TABLEVIEW and BLOUBERGSTRAND:Peter O’Hanlon, NSRI Melkbosstrand station commander, said: On Thursday, 17 December, NSRI Melkbosstrand and Big Bay Surf Lifesaving COCT (City of Cape Town) lifeguards responded to Sunset Beach, Tableview, following eye-witness reports of a windsurfer appearing to be in difficulty. Big Bay lifeguards launched their surf rescue RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) and NSRI crew responded in our sea rescue vehicle.On arrival on the scene the windsurfer board and sail was found on the shore where it had washed ashore and the windsurfer, a Belgium man, was located safe on the beach, further down the beach, and he was not injured and he required no further assistance.

The windsurfers sail mast had snapped while he was windsurfing and the windsurfer had managed to swim to shore and his windsurf board and sail washed ashore. On Saturday, 19 December, at 15h54, NSRI Melkbosstrand duty crew launched the sea rescue jet-rib Film Industry Fund Rescuer 2 to investigate a suspected kite-boarder in difficulty 2 nautical miles off-shore of Bloubergstrand. On arrival on the scene we found a bunch of party balloons floating in the water and they were recovered for disposal.

HERMANUS:Andre Barnard, NSRI Hermanus station commander, said: At 09h51, Friday, 18 December, NSRI Hermanus duty crew were activate to reports of a 16 year old male, from Somerset West, in difficulty getting out of the surf onto a rock ledge after cliff jumping into the surf from a popular cliff jumping spot near to the Hermanus harbour. The sea rescue craft Maritimus was launched and NSRI rescue swimmers, SA Police Services, WC Government Health EMS, EMR ambulance services and local security companies, HPP and Guarding and Protecting, responded.

On arrival on the scene the teenager was found safe on the shore with his brother, a 25 year old male from Cape Town, after he had got into difficulty trying to get out of the surf onto a rock ledge after cliff jumping off rocks on the shoreline.The teenager was transported to hospital by an ambulance as a precaution for observation for non-fatal drowning symptoms and following medical treatment he has been released from hospital requiring no further assistance.

DURBAN:Roy Wienand, NSRI Durban deputy station commander, said: At 16h09, Saturday, 19 December, NSRI Durban duty crew activated to assist a yacht with engine failure. The Richards Bay solo sailor, sailing his yacht from Port Elizabeth to Richards Bay, experienced engine failure and he requested NSRI assistance to get into the Port of Durban to repair his engine before continuing. Our sea rescue craft Alick Rennie rendezvoused with the yacht 2 nautical miles off-shore and without incident the casualty yacht was towed to the Durban Marina and moored and no further assistance was required.

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