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National Sea Rescue Institute

Press Release: Immediate

3rd February 2021

NSRI Media Release: Pink is for boys, our buoys, says NSRI of new lifesaving campaign

With many of our beaches opening up again, those heading back to our sandy shores may have noticed splashes of pink at some rivers, dams and on the beach.

In a sea of blue, what’s the meaning of pink, you may ask.

The NSRI has the answer.

It is Sea Rescue’s new campaign to save lives on South African waters this summer season.

The campaign “Pink is for Buoys” draws attention to the lifesaving Pink Rescue Buoys that the NSRI has deployed to strategic areas, next to rivers, dams and the ocean across South Africa.

The campaign is a double entendre, says the NSRI.

It tackles two issues with one buoy.

Firstly, it challenges perceptions that the colour pink is traditionally reserved for girls, and secondly by introducing a new colour buoy, the NSRI is forcing us to pay attention to the danger of drowning.

The pink buoys are part of a lifesaving water safety initiative by the NSRI. The distinctive pink colouring of the rescue buoy is designed to stand out in water and provide emergency flotation. Pink buoys save lives.

“The campaign aims to challenge our perceptions of the colour pink, to create awareness of the Pink Rescue Buoy project, as well as to encourage communities to treasure and protect the rescue buoys that have been donated to their communities,” said Andrew Ingram, Head of Drowning Prevention at the NSRI.

Over 850 pink buoys have been installed and 68 lives have been saved using a Pink Rescue Buoy since the project’s inception in November 2017.

The campaign has three key messages :

  • Pink is for Buoys – The pink buoy initiative has saved countless lives. If someone is drowning, think pink.
  • Missing Buoys – A stolen buoy is a stolen life
  • Lost buoy, lost life - Always leave the pink buoys where they belong

The NSRI has also recorded radio ads in 5 of the official languages. The radio ads target communities across the country.

The radio message underscores that a stolen pink buoy could mean a stolen life.

“Our life saving buoys, found next to rivers, dams and oceans, are bright pink. Because in a sea of blue, you’ll always see pink. Anyone can save a life - with a pink buoy,” the advert explains.

It reminds communities that: “If you ever see someone in danger of drowning, think: “pink is for buoys”. Find the pink rescue buoy, throw it into the water, help the person to float, save a life. You’ll find our buoys at beaches along the coast, inland dams and rivers right across South Africa. But please remember that a stolen buoy could be a stolen life.”

Pink is for Buoys - English 30 seconds

Pink is for Buoys - English 60 seconds

Pink is for Buoys - Afrikaans

Pink is for Buoys - isiZulu

Pink is for Buoys - isiXhosa

Pink is for Buoys - Sesotho

Prevention, education saves lives

Hundreds of drownings in South Africa each year are preventable, if only proper education, prevention initiatives and the right equipment were at hand.

“With the deployment of hundreds of Pink Rescue Buoys across South Africa, it is our hope that these lifesaving buoys will save lives on South African waters this summer season and for years to come,” said Andrew Ingram, Head of Drowning Prevention at the NSRI.

“The success of the Pink Rescue Buoy project however depends on our communities.”

Without communities standing behind the project and teaching children that the Pink Rescue Buoys should not be taken off their poles except in an emergency, we will not be able to save lives,” Andrew said.

In some areas, Pink Rescue Buoys which were thought to have been stolen have been returned to their poles within days of the community leadership telling people that they must not take these emergency floats. As our Pink Rescue Buoy sign says – ‘Please return me so that we can save another life’.

We urge community members to become pink lifesavers, by reporting any missing pink rescue buoys to our Emergency Operations Centre on 021 434 4011. Your report could save a life.

“Water safety is a key pillar of our work, and our initiatives would not be possible without the generous support of donors and sponsors and the commitment of our educators and the communities that welcome them,” said Andrew Ingram Head of Drowning Prevention.

“The Rescue Buoys are bright pink so that they can be easily spotted on the water by responding emergency services. There is also a unique location number on the signpost so that crucial minutes can be saved for emergency services to help those in danger of drowning.”

“Our message to water users and anyone who may find themselves in danger of drowning is simple: “Think Pink”, added Andrew.

Andrew also urged water users to immediately call the emergency numbers on the Pink Rescue Buoy sign, or 112 from their cell phone for help if someone is in danger of drowning.

Pink is a powerful colour. Pink is a colour that saves lives. Pink is for buoys. Pink buoys save lives.

Should you wish to sponsor a pink rescue buoy at a cost of R1500 per a buoy, or would like to volunteer and assist us in protecting and maintaining the buoys, please contact

About the Pink Rescue Buoys:

The NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys which are placed at selected inland dams, rivers, and beaches along the coastline where there is a danger of people drowning or needing rescue have already saved many lives on South African Waters.

The roll-out of the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys started in November 2017. This project is made possible by corporate and public donations and is part of an extensive National Drowning Prevention Campaign started by Sea Rescue during 2017. The deployment of the Pink Rescue Buoys is done with the cooperation of City Councils, Municipalities and communities in a rapidly growing effort to make our waters safer and to prevent drowning incidents. Part of the initiative follows the World Health Organisation’s principals of empowering community members with peer rescue and CPR skills. When we put Pink Rescue Buoys up in an area, we also target this education at the communities through traditional and social media channels.

Media Queries:

Contact: Jessica Shelver

Duty Spokesperson

Email: | Cell: 076 175 0663


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 water safety classes for children (we have taught over 3 million children since 2006), our new Survival Swimming programme, 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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