When Siya Kolisi, Springbok rugby captain, Stormers and Western Province player, was 12 years old, he nearly drowned.
Kolisi, says that “there are 600 children who drown in South Africa every year in entirely preventable incidents. In my community, we have days when we go to the beach, and a lot of the times you don’t get in the water, because you are scared because you know how many people have drowned”.
For many South Africans who are unable to swim, this is a harsh reality.
Kolisi, a national icon and a supporter of the National Sea Rescue Institute and their rescue work, is therefore challenging all South Africans to support the NSRI’s “Launch A Legacy” campaign.
“An ocean, a dam, a swimming pool should be experienced by everyone, which is why I am helping the NSRI by placing my name on the side of their new rescue boat, so that each time they launch to save more lives, I will be right by their side”, added Kolisi.
The NSRI’s new world class rescue boat, an Offshore Rescue Craft will proudly carry the names of South Africa’s loved ones when it launches in 2021.
Through the NSRI’s “Launch a Legacy” campaign, donors and supporters can celebrate or commemorate a loved one by making a donation of R2 000 and submitting a loved one’s name that will then appear in the lettering of the new Offshore Rescue Boat.
“When you honour your loved one, you will help us to build the next generation of rescue craft, constructed entirely in South Africa to save lives on South African waters. For a special person in your life there is no better honour, because each time our volunteer crew launches to save lives, the name and spirit of your loved one will be right by their side”, said Dr. Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO.
The #LaunchALegacy campaign has the support of Kolisi and Springbok and Stormers rugby player, Steven Kitsoff, as well as media personality Liezel Van Der Westhuizen and Stormers Coach John Dobson, who have all already added a name to the new rescue boat.
Van Der Westhuizen’s friend Patrick Atherton was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in August 2019. Van Der Westhuizen said “Patrick and I always loved the ocean. That’s why I am placing his name on the side of the NSRI’s new rescue boat, so Patrick’s legacy will be one that saves lives, long after his has ended”.
John Dobson lost his dad Paul, earlier this year due to COVID-19. John says “my dad and I loved the sea so much that the NSRI had to rescue us, twice. That’s why I am helping the NSRI, by placing my father’s name on the side of their new rescue boat, so that each time they launch to save more lives, my dad will be right by their side”.
The NSRI’s new Offshore Rescue Craft which will be launched next year is the first fully South African-built offshore search and rescue craft being put together by local hands.
“The new world class rescue boat costs an estimated R20-million and represents a game-changing moment for saving lives”, says Robertson.
“This is a huge investment for a non-profit organisation, but it had to be done. The investment into lessening the risk of lost lives, of our crews and those stranded at sea, is more than worth it. Our coastline is busy, and the people who make our blue economy thrive deserve to be protected.”
The new vessel will be able to accommodate six volunteer rescuers on board, in shock mitigating seats to allow for high-speed operation in difficult sea conditions, and has the ability to carry up to 23 survivors. It has an expected lifespan of at least 40 years.
“Our commitment to raise the necessary funds to save lives on South African Waters remains steadfast, and this is one of the reasons that we have launched this unique campaign to help us fund these lifesaving rescue boats”, added Robertson.
“To continue to deliver a world class rescue service in South Africa, the NSRI are investing in modern, high-tech rescue craft that will save even more lives on South African waters We invite all South Africans to “Launch A Legacy” by placing a name (or more) of a loved who they wish to honour or celebrate on the side of this new lifesaving vessel,” said Dr. Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO.
To #LaunchALegacy, or for more information on the campaign, visit www.nsri.co.za
Contact: Jessica Shelver
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