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The New Year is upon us and NSRI and all water emergency networks are appealing to the public to be safe in and around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools. We are appealing to coastal bathers to only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards and swim in between the lifeguards safe swimming zone flags posted by the lifeguards on the beach.


NSRI commend the media for their extensive water safety coverage published and broadcast this festive season.

The mission of the NSRI, Lifeguards, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue services, SA Police Services and local Law Enforcement agencies, is focused on reducing drowning accidents around the coastline, on inland waters and at swimming pools.

The efforts by the media in broadcasting and publishing water safety contributes immensely to the shared efforts of all of the emergency services to reduce drowning accidents.

The New Year is upon us and NSRI and all water emergency networks are appealing to the public to be safe in and around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools.

We are appealing to coastal bathers to only swim at beaches protected by lifeguards and swim in between the lifeguards safe swimming zone flags posted by the lifeguards on the beach.

Lifeguards regularly move these flags when they detect rip currents forming and we are appealing to the public to obey the lifeguards instructions to only swim in between their flags.

Families visiting the beach should approach the lifeguards if they are separated from family members or if they need assistance.

NSRI are appealing to fishermen, coastline anglers and hikers, to take heed of Spring tides. The new moon Spring Tide peaks on 2 January.

We are appealing to the public to be aware of the higher than normal high tides and lower than normal low tides preceding and following after the Spring Tides peak day and be cautious around the coastline.

We are appealing to parents to make sure that there is a designated responsible person watching over children in and around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools.

NSRI has developed a safety monitor ID tag to be worn by the responsible person that is overseeing children while they are swimming and to regularly change that responsible monitoring person, who is watching over the children, every half an hour to ensure that that designated person is not distracted by cellphone calls or by conversation during their dedicated monitoring period.

For information on the Safety Monitor ID tag and NSRI water safety tips go to our web page:

Do not drink alcohol and then go swimming, boating, paddling or sailboarding.


If you are caught in a rip current don't panic, stay afloat using the air in your lungs for natural buoyancy and tread water, moving your arms and legs in circular movements, to keep your head above water. Go with the rip current, do not try to swim against the current. Call out for help. At your first opportunity swim across the beachfront until you are free from the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get to the beach.

NSRI are on high alert every day of the year and during the festive season our volunteers increase physical time spent at our NSRI rescue stations around the coast and on inland waters to ensure a swift response to emergencies.

All water emergency response services, NSRI, Lifeguards, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue services, the SA Police Services and local Law Enforcement agencies are dedicated to ensuring the public are safe in and around water during the New Years celebrations.


To report a water emergency call 112 from your cellphone or call 0870949774.

Be safe around water over the New Years celebrations.


We are appealing to the public not to set off red distress flares during New Years eve celebrations. Red Distress Flares are intended to be used only in emergencies. Red distress flares automatically activates an emergency response.

We also appeal to the public not to set off Sky Lanterns. While Sky Lanterns pose a fire hazard they are also often mistaken to be red distress flares and often cause NSRI and the emergency services to engage in lengthy search operations and investigations to ensure that there were no persons in any distress.


NSRI, in cooperation with local Municipalities, has posted pink rescue buoys around the coastline and on inland waters intended to be used as a safety floatation device for people in distress.

These NSRI pink rescue buoys are responsible for 84 lives saved on South Africa waters since the programmes inception in 2017.

Removing a pink rescue buoy from its pole removes the potential for a life to be saved - unless the buoy is removed to be used in a life threatening water emergency.

If you find a pink rescue buoy that is not on its pole please report this to NSRI on 0214344011 or drop it off at your nearest Police station or surf shop so that the pink rescue buoy can be returned to active duty.


With heavy rains impacting parts of South Africa NSRI are appealing to the public not to swim or try to cross through rivers swollen or flooded by heavy rainfall.

NSRI and all water rescue partners are wishing South Africans and our International visitors a safe New Year.


NSRI were made aware of the rescue of a female child by bystanders at Mtunzini Beach at around 10h00 on Sunday 19 December.

A bystander reportedly noticed the young girl floating on her back in the surf zone and he recognised that she was in distress.

According to an eye-witness the public member grabbed an NSRI pink rescue buoy, that is stationed at Mtunzini Beach, and on reaching the child used the pink rescue buoy to help her to stay afloat while other public members formed a human chain to help to get them safely to shore where the child was reunited with family.

Their combined efforts are commended.


Life Healthcare Response paramedics and WC Government Health EMS assisted City of Cape Town (CoCT) lifeguards and Law Enforcement officers, on Friday, 17 December, at 14h27, who were medically treating a female at Camps Bay tidal pool after she was rescued to the shore by bystanders following a non-fatal drowning accident.

The female was treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms and transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a stable condition.

In another incident the Police Dive Unit are continuing in an active ongoing search operation for a 36 year old male, from Delft, who is feared to have drowned at Camps Bay Beach at around 17h15, Tuesday 21 December.

NSRI, lifeguards and Law Enforcement officers are assisting Police in their ongoing search.

It appears that the man disappeared under water while swimming.

An extensive sea and shoreline search by NSRI Bakoven and by CoCT lifeguards found no trace of the man after 3 young ladies reported seeing what they thought to be a person in distress in the water.

The following day family of the man opened a missing persons report at Camps Bay Police station and it is believed that this may have been related to the reports from the 3 young ladies the day before.

Thoughts are with the family of the missing man in this difficult time.

In another incident, on Saturday, 25 December, at 13h17, CoCT Lifeguards, WC Government Health EMS, Life Healthcare response paramedics and Law Enforcement officers conducted extensive CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) efforts on a male child, aged 10, from Philippi, at Camps Bay tidal pool after public members located and recovered the child from underwater.

After all efforts to resuscitate the child were exhausted sadly he was declared deceased and he was taken into the care of WC Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.

Police opened an inquest docket for investigation.

Condolences are conveyed to the family of the deceased child.


Niall Cameron has recounted to NSRI the success he achieved, with a surfer friend, to rescue 2 brothers who were knocked off their paddle-ski's and caught in rip currents 400 meters off-shore of Cannon Rocks on Christmas Day.

Niall donned a wet suit and diving fins and he used an NSRI pink rescue buoy, that is stationed at Cannon Rocks, to swim out to sea where he reached one of the 2 brothers.

His friend, Andre, using a surfboard, managed to paddle the second brother safely to shore.

Niall used the NSRI pink rescue buoy to keep the casualty afloat while he swam him at first further out to sea to get away from large breaking waves before using the incoming waves to get the man to shore in a rescue effort that took over half an hour.

Niall and his friend Andre are commended for their efforts that saved the lives of the 2 brothers.


A Pretoria husband and wife borrowed a jet-ski on Christmas Day and they were capsized by a wave in the surf zone near to the end of Cape Vidal Reef at around 10h30.

An on duty Ezemvelo KZN lifeguard reached them in the surf zone and he began to assist them.

An off duty NSRI St Lucia crew member was on the beach with his family at the time and using an NSRI pink rescue buoy, that is stationed at Cape Vidal Beach, he launched into the surf and together he and the lifeguard rescued the couple safely to the shore.

They were treated by Ezemvelo KZN lifeguards and by NSRI St Lucia medics and transported to the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (EKZNW) marine office where further medical treatment was provided.

Netcare 911 ambulance services were activated.

The wife was transported to hospital in a stable condition by Netcare 911 ambulance and she has made a full recovery.

The quick intervention by the lifeguard and by the NSRI St Lucia crewman is commended.


NSRI Strandfontein duty crew were flagged down by public on the Baden Powell motorway on Sunday, 26 December, at 16h06, reporting a teenager in distress at Sonwabi Beach following a non-fatal drowning accident.

NSRI Strandfontein medics and NSRI Lifeguard medics, assisted by Law Enforcement officers and by Cape Town Traffic Services, medically treated the teenager who was found to be in a critical condition with non-fatal drowning symptoms.

WC Government Health EMS and Life Healthcare response paramedics took over medical care of the 14 year old female who was transported to hospital by EMS ambulance in a serious but stable condition where hospital staff, nurses and doctors continued with extensive medical care.

The quick medical intervention saved the life of the teenager and is commended.

Victoria Hospital in Wynberg has confirmed that the teenager remained in high care before being released from hospital in good health on 30 December.


NSRI Simonstown dispatched the sea rescue craft Donna Nicholas and Spirit of Surfski II following reports of a group of people swept out to sea in rip currents at Buffels Bay on Sunday, 26 December, at 15h27.

Prior to arriving on the scene a group of surfers had successfully rescued the casualties who were not injured and they required no further assistance.

The surfers are commended for their efforts.


An inquest docket has been opened by Police into the suspected drowning of a 30 year old male who was recovered from the beach at Dolphin Bay by Police Search and Rescue, assisted by NSRI Port Edward, on Wednesday 22 December.

It is believed that this case is related to a family who reported their son missing in unknown circumstances earlier.


NSRI Ballito and Netcare 911 ambulance services responded at 15h58, Saturday, 11 December, to an area near to the Tinley Manor Ski-Boat Club where a 17 year old female suffered non-fatal drowning symptoms after being swept out to sea in rip currents.

NSRI medics initiated medical treatment and care of the patient was taken over by Netcare 911 paramedics who transported the female to hospital in a serious but stable condition and she has since made a full recovery.


NSRI Ballito duty crew assisted Police Search and Rescue in a search for a person missing in the Umvoti River in the Glendale area. No sign of the missing person was found and Police are continuing in a search.


NSRI Ballito duty crew launched their Waverunner Jet-Ski and responded to Sheffield Beach at 16h30, Wednesday, 15 December, when a person was reported to be caught in a rip current.

On arrival on the scene NSRI found that a surfer had rescued the casualty from the water.

The casualty was not injured and no further assistance was required.


NSRI lifeguards at Sedgefield rescued a 5 year old female and adults who were caught in rip currents in the surf zone off-shore at the Swartvlei Mouth on Thursday, 30 December..

No injuries were sustained and the lifeguards are commended for their efforts.

Next Article

Strand – Fatal drowning

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