Achievement is often anonymous. Some of the greatest things on earth have been done by people you may never have heard of, quietly working hard to improve the lives of others. Behind every rescue is an anonymous volunteer.
The NSRI’s rescue volunteers are often anonymous and are unsung heroes that deserve to be acknowledged, thanked and celebrated. The NSRI rescue crews are all unpaid volunteers who respond to callouts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - all year round to save lives on South African Waters. They risk their own lives to save others.
Always on duty to serve, save and protect, during the period 1st January 2020 to 31st December 2020, the NSRI conducted 971 rescue operations and rescued 835 people. [Access the NSRI’s 2021 Integrated Annual Report here].
On Friday 4th June, the NSRI celebrated its 54th Annual General Meeting and Awards Evening at The Bay Hotel in Cape Town.
The annual event celebrates and honours the contribution, bravery and dedication of its volunteers under the categories:
OCEANOS CIVILIAN RECOGNITION
In recognition of their courageous actions when the passenger ship Oceanos sprang a leak in horrendous weather conditions – hurricane-force winds and 10-metre waves - off the Wild Coast of South Africa on the evening of 03 August 1991 and eventually foundered twelve hours later. It should be noted that these are the most Bravery Awards ever issued by NSRI on one occasion to non-NSRI persons.
The following persons and ships are honoured and awarded as follows: (Click on the name to read full citation copies)
Bravery Bronze: Geraldine Massyn
Bravery Bronze: Lieza Louw
Bravery Bronze: Lynne Greig
Bravery Bronze: Michael O'Mahoney
Bravery Bronze: Neal Shaw
Bravery Bronze: Piet Niemand
Bravery Bronze: Terry Lester
Bravery Gold: Julian Russell
Bravery Gold: Lorraine Betts
Bravery Gold: Moss Hills
Bravery Gold: Robin Boltman
Directors’ Thanks: Hilton Schilder, Peter Niemand, Tracy Hills, Tom Hine, Kaszuby II, Nedloyd Mauritius, Reefer Duchess, Great Nancy and FV Anik
Meritorious Service Award Station 7 East London – Geoff Mc Gregor to receive on Station’s behalf
Geoff Mc Gregor receives the Meritorious Award on behalf of Station 7 East London
BOS 400 RESCUE
For their courage and determination on 26 April 1994 when they were instrumental in saving 18 crew from the deck of the crane barge BOS 400, adrift in gale force conditions in Maori Bay, near Llandudno, Cape Town.Bronze
Gallantry Award – Phil Ress
For his courage and determination on 26 April 1994 when he was instrumental in saving 18 crew from the deck of the crane barge BOS 400, adrift in gale force conditions in Maori Bay, near Llandudno, Cape Town. That afternoon, the line from the tug towing the BOS 400 parted in the NW gale then blowing, with 50/60 knot winds, rain squalls and heaving 9-metre swells, and the barge drifted into Maori Bay. The barge’s captain declared a MAYDAY and asked for his 18 man crew to be taken off the foundering vessel. Court Helicopters were tasked by Cape Town Port Control to do so. The 61 Sikorsky aircraft ZS RAX was piloted by Capt John Pocock with Phil Ress of NSRI Station 3, Table Bay as one of the crew.
On arrival on scene, the flying conditions were wild and Capt. Pocock exhibited great expertise in positioning his craft above the BOS 400 helipad where its crew had gathered awaiting evacuation. A double strop line was lowered to the BOS 400 deck but the crew below did not know how to use it. Phil was then asked to descend onto the helipad in those dreadful conditions to assist the barge crew. He did so without hesitation. When on the heaving deck, with the barge rolling violently from side to side, he held on grimly to the helipad’s deck ropes and with great skill assisted the barge crew, two at a time into the rescue strops, to be winched up into the helicopter being held in position above through great piloting skill.
When there were still 7 crew to be evacuated a huge squall came through, forcing ZS RAX to fly away and abandon the rescue operation temporarily, leaving Phil and the remaining crew to hang onto everything that they could to keep their footing in the treacherous conditions. On its return, the remaining crew and Phil were then lifted into the helicopter and transported back to the Court Helicopters base in Cape Town.
Phil Ress’ gallantry that afternoon, going to the aid of persons in trouble, in known dangerous conditions, without concern for his own safety, was in the very finest traditions of the National Sea Rescue Institute, which we are pleased to recognise with this gallantry award.
A Bronze Gallantry Award is presented to Phil Ress
Directors’ Thanks on Vellum – Captain John Pocock
A Directors' Thanks award is presented to Captain John Pocock
TABLE BAY RESCUE: YACHT SAVANNAH
The swift reaction of 2 couples on the local yacht Savannah has contributed to saving the lives of a man and a woman who capsized on their sea-kayak on Sunday near Robben Island. -https://www.nsri.org.za/2020/10/table-bay-sunday-11-october-a-local-yacht-crew-has-saved-the-lives-of-2-kayakers/
It gives me great pleasure to record the NSRI board’s appreciation for the rescue by yourself and your crew on yacht Savannah on 11 October 2020 of two persons after their sea-kayak had become water-logged, pitching them into the sea. That afternoon you, your wife Jennifer, and two friends were on Savannah in the vicinity of Robben Island when you heard faint cries for help. On investigation, you saw the two casualties hanging onto their sea-kayak in the very cold, 9° to 10° Celsius, water. They had been there for nearly an hour and were exhausted and severely hypothermic. It was very fortunate that you were alert enough to hear their cries for help as there was no other marine traffic in the area and a South Easterly off-shore wind was picking up.
You and your crew rescued the two casualties onto Savannah, immediately initiated emergency rewarming measures whilst heading back to Table Bay harbour and alerted Port Control to the situation. NSRI Station 3, Table Bay was tasked to assist and rescue boat Spirit of Day was despatched with medically trained crew. They assisted your crew to medically stabilise the two persons rescued, who were hospitalised on reaching shore and made a full recovery. Your swift and successful actions that day were in the best traditions of seafarers and we salute you.
Directors’ Thanks are presented to all four crew of Yacht Savannah: Paul and Jennifer Morris, Jean Louis and Sandrine Rabier
JEFFREYS BAY RESCUE - On the afternoon of the 6th February 2021, the quick actions of four Jeffreys Bay teenagers saved a life. - https://www.nsri.org.za/2021/03/heroic-teens-rescue-drowning-girl/
The Directors of the National Sea Rescue Institute wish to record our thanks to Abbygail Janse van Rensburg for her selfless actions on 6th February 2021, at Jeffreys Bay beach when together with 3 other young women she went to the rescue of a girl being swept out to sea by strong rip currents. When the girl’s mother became aware of her daughter’s predicament she asked for help from Lisa Stumpf and Megan Johnson, who was with her on the beach at the time. Abbygail and Karla Stumpf, Lisa’s twin sister, live beside that beach and Lisa and Megan immediately drew their attention to what was going on. They also informed the local NSRI station and emergency services of the situation.
There being no time to fetch the NSRI pink buoy located some distance down the beach Abbygail grabbed a flotation board and, joined by Karla, swam out to the struggling girl, who by then was 100 metres out to sea, in the surf line. Together Abbygail and Karla used the flotation board to support the distressed girl and guided her safely back to shore. Undoubtedly Abbygail’s actions that day and those of the other three girls involved in this rescue saved a life and all can be very proud of what they did.
Abbygail Janse van Rensburg is presented with a Directors' Thanks
For his part in the rescue of a young female in the early evening on 27th February 2021 at the Strand.
It gives me great pleasure to record the NSRI board’s appreciation for your part in the rescue by yourself of a young female in the early evening on 27th February 2021 at the Strand. Vincent Landman, a Class 3 Cox’n and Rescue Swimmer at Station 9 Gordons Bay, was the first NSRI Crewman arriving on scene, literally minutes after receiving the call. Once on scene he immediately assessed the scenario and what actions were needed. While donning his wetsuit, additional crew arrived, whom he tasked for the operation and then he entered the water (following all COVID and NSRI safety protocols).It was now dark and the casualty and a fisherman who was fishing off the outer reef were out of sight and significantly deep in.
Vincent swimming out found and reached the casualty by following her screaming. Once he reached her he realised she was not going to be rescued without a struggle. Being deep in the water, in a pitch dark night, between shallow reefs with a combative casualty whose intentions were to kill herself, Vincent faced the critical question: do I leave her alone and save myself, or do I do what is necessary to save her life. Vincent decided to rescue her and eventually managed to swim the combative casualty back to shore with no injuries to himself or the casualty, and in doing so he saved her life. It should be noted that this is the fourth rescue Vincent has done where he brought a casualty back alive. The swift and successful actions that day by Vincent are in the best traditions of NSRI and we salute you.
Directors’ Thanks presented to: Vincent Landman – Station 9 Gordon’s Bay
Vincent Landman of Station 9 Gordon's Bay presented with a Directors' Thanks award
2. STATION AWARDS – Brett Ayres, Executive Director of Rescue Services presented the following awards:
The Most Improved Station: Station 31 Still Bay
Stefan Grové, Deputy Station Commander of Still Bay receives the award
The Best RIB Station: Station 36 Oyster Bay
Lodewyk van Rensburg, Station Commander of Oyster Bay receives award
The Pat O Sullivan Trophy, for the best Class 1 Station: Station 17 Hermanus
Andre Barnard, Station Commander Hermanus receives award
3. SPECIAL SERVICE AWARDS:
Chairman Ronnie Stein presented the following awards:
Water Safety Recognition Award: Station 23 Wilderness
for innovation and commitment to place lifeguards on Wilderness beach after the traditional lifeguarding season ended in Mid-January 2021.With the Covid-19 lockdown drastically affecting tourism and lifeguards on the beaches in the Garden Route, there was concern in the community, and rescue services, that if Wilderness Main beach was not lifeguarded visitors to the beautiful but extremely dangerous stretch of coast would be at risk. The municipality did not have funds to extend the lifeguarding season at Wilderness and in the days after lifeguards left the beach there were a number of drowning in progress calls to which the Wilderness NSRI volunteers responded.
After Station 23 Deputy Station Commander Johan Scholtz was approached by a concerned member of the public regarding what he saw as a grave risk, the Station 23 leadership decided to see how they could get lifeguards back on the beach. Coming up with a plan to have business and members of the public fund lifeguards on Wilderness beach had never been tried before, but with the determination of Station 23 Station Commander Garth Dominy and his team it became a reality. The community-sponsored lifeguarding project ran from 27 February 2021 to 2 May 2021 and, most importantly, covered the school holidays and Easter weekend. Each weekend a team of five to six lifeguards, who volunteered a third of their time, kept the area from Main beach to Leentjiesklip safe. 98 preventative actions were performed and six lives saved.
This initiative, which included Outeniqua Surf Lifesaving Club, NSRI volunteers, NSRI Rescue Swimmers and lifeguards from Knysna, was a perfect example of how thinking outside the box and working together saves lives. Congratulations, Station 23 Wilderness.
Garth Dominy, Station Commander Station 23 Wilderness received the award on behalf of his station.
MARMION MARSH TROPHY awarded to: Brad Geyser
for his individual noteworthy service to the cause of Sea Rescue in South Africa for over many years. Brad has been a remarkable member of the NSRI family for the past 46 years. In February 1975 he joined Station 2 Bakoven, which became his Sea Rescue home for twenty seven years. Brad served at Bakoven as a crewman, qualifying as a Coxswain in 1982 and taking over from Allan Cramb as Station Commander from May 1993 to September 2002. During this time Brad ran an excellent station, always leading by example, including being the first emergency service on the scene of the bomb blast in St Elmo’s restaurant, Camp’s Bay on 28 November 1999 where Brad led the way to helping the injured. In November 2002 Brad stood down from Station 2 as he relocated to live in Hout Bay. Here he joined Station 8. Between 2002 and 2004, in his spare time, Brad wrote the Station Commanders Training Manual and four other Standard Operating Procedures. In 2005, he was elected Deputy Station Commander at Hout Bay and in 2006, although already leading a very busy life combining the demands of his job with those of being the Officer Commanding the Cape Town Highlanders, he did not hesitate when asked to take the helm at Station 8 after the incumbent station commander, Peter Adamo, had to stand down due to ill health. This position Brad held until 2012.Applying his flair for administration Brad put systems in place at Hout Bay that improved the crews’ training as well as the overall administration of the base.
From 2012 to 2014 Brad presented the Institute’s Station Commander’s training courses and helped with the Internal Audits of Stations. In 2014 Brad joined the Operations Board and became a member of the Awards Committee in April 2017. In September 2017 he was voted in as the Awards committee chairman, when he also became the Chair of the Operations Support Committee. In June 2018 he became a Non-Executive Director of the NSRI. In his time as a Sea Rescue volunteer Brad has twice received the Directors’ Thanks, as well as a Meritorious Service Award for the help that Station 2 gave to victims of the St Elmo’s bomb blast. Brad’s leadership has been invaluable as was shown when he ran the JOC with great efficiency during the rescue of 38 people after the MV Miroshga capsized between Duiker Island and Duiker Point on 13 October 2012.In his time at sea Brad logged an impressive 1375.5 operational hours at Station 2 and Station 8.In June 2021 Brad stood down from Sea Rescue to retire in Yzerfontein.
Brad’s example is an inspiration to us all and a model of the best in the NSRI. A more worthy recipient of the Marmion Marsh trophy than Brad Geyser it would be very difficult to find.
Brad Geyser receives the Marmion Marsh Trophy
ALRIC SIMPSON TROPHY awarded to: I&J Limited -
An organization which has rendered distinguished service to the NSRI. The Alric Simpson Floating Trophy is awarded annually to a person who, or an organisation which, has rendered distinguished service to the NSRI. The Trophy was sponsored by the Late Mrs Eleanor Simpson and her two sons, who wanted to donate an unusual award named in memory of her sea-loving husband Alric, resulting in the Alric Simpson knot board. This year we award this Trophy to Irvin & Johnson Limited (I&J) for the tremendous support provided by I&J to NSRI for over forty years. Some of the significant contributions that I&J have made to the NSRI are:
• An eight metre Deep Sea Rescue Craft which was delivered to our Rescue Base in Three Anchor Bay during 1981 and transferred to serve at our Saldanha Bay Rescue Base in 1992.
• Three 4.7 metre RIBs in the Sea Rescue fleet that are sponsored by I&J; I&J Rescuer II, based at our Gauteng Rescue base, I&J Rescuer III which is based at Strandfontein and I&J Rescuer IV which is based at Agulhas.
• The current Station 3 Rescue Base at Table Bay was built in 1991 and I&J made this possible with a substantial donation towards the building. The I&J logo is still proudly displayed on the building with the inscription “Together we care”.
• I&J were one of the NSRI’s very first Platinum Partners and have been supporting this initiative since 1995.It is for this substantial contribution to saving lives on South African waters that we award I&J this year’s Alric Simpson Trophy, with our particular thanks to the Staff and Management of I&J.
We owe I&J a great debt of gratitude for the role they play in ensuring that we have effective, built for purpose rescue equipment for our rescue bases around South Africa so that our volunteer Sea Rescue crews can operate efficiently and safely.
Rob Landman receives the award on behalf of I&J
Directors’ Thanks to Clifford Ireland - on the occasion of his standing down from the Awards Committee
Directors’ Thanks to Mark Hughes - on the occasion of his standing down from the Awards Committee
Directors’ Thanks to Dave Roberts - on the occasion of his standing down from the Awards Committee
Directors’ Thanks to Ivor Sindler - on the occasion of his standing down from the Audit Committee
HONORARY LIFE GOVERNOR AWARDS:
We govern the organisation with integrity and dedication and provide the assurance necessary to maintain the relationship of trust with all our stakeholders.
The Honorary Life Governor Awards were awarded to:
Brad Geyser receives an Honorary Life Governor Award
Mark Koning receives an Honorary Life Governor Award
4. LONG SERVICE AWARDS NSRI Chairman Ronnie Stein presented these awards) 20 Years Long Service
Busisiwe Guga of Head Office
Robyn Silverstone from Station 3 Table Bay
Barry Purdon from Station 8 Hout Bay
Jacobus Smit from Station 9 Gordon’s Bay
Grant van Staden from Station 12 Knysna
Jerome Simonis from Station 12 Knysna
Marc Rodgers from Station 14 Plettenberg Bay
Jaco Kruger receives Neal Stephenson's award from Station 14 Plettenberg Bay
Jeremiah Jackson from Station 20 Shelly Beach
Jake Manten receives Dirk Manten's award from Station 22 Vaal Dam
Reinard Geldenhuys from Station 30 Agulhas25 Years & Honorary Life Membership Award
Pamela St Clair-Laing from Station 5 Durban
Deon Langenhoven from Station 17 and Head Office
Rhine Barnes from Station 18 Melkbosstrand30 Years Long Service
Darren Zimmerman from Station 10 Simon’s Town
Graham Anley from Station 14 Plettenberg Bay
Antonie de Klerk from Station 17 Hermanus35 Years Long Service
Marius Hayes receives Andy Connell's award from Head Office
Mark Thompson from Station 2 Bakoven
Paul Jordaan from Station 14 Plettenberg Bay40 Years Long Service
Andrew Ingram from Head Office 50 Years Long Service
Ronnie Stein receives Howard Godfrey's award
Patrick van Eyssen from Station 3 Table Bay
Ian Hamilton from Station 15 Mossel Bay
Please note, strict Covid-19 protocols were applied and mask removed for purposes of images taken.
The NSRI wishes to thank the following sponsors that helped make our AGM and Awards possible, we appreciate your support:
The Bay Hotel
Jordan Wine Estate
Liezel van der Westhuizen - Our MC for the evening
Badger & Mountain Winery
DHL for the printing of the Integrated Reports and sponsorship of Station Commander Jackets
Connor Thompson for the Audiovisual
Simon McDonnell for capturing the event.
By sharing these stories, the NSRI hopes to encourage volunteers to join the organisation - there is a life saving role for everyone. To learn more about the NSRI or to donate to the heroic work done by these volunteers, visit https://www.nsri.org.za/funding/donate/
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