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Over 1 100 lives were saved by the NSRI in 2021, through responsive station rescues, public Pink Rescue Buoy rescues, and proactive lifeguarding initiatives. In addition to this, many more were and still are going to be saved thanks to the many hours the Drowning Prevention team has spent educating the public on water safety.

The Water Safety Education Team, which comprises 22 different people, taught a total of 332 984 people water safety skills in 2021. According to Drowning Prevention Education Coordinator Valerie Barlow, these took place across the country despite Covid restrictions still being in place. These numbers were achieved through over 6 933 presentations in 1 411 different venues which included schools, clinics, sports groups, and early childhood development centres.

“We have clawed our way back in educating and upskilling children in water safety and survival swimming, and our rescue services, both lifeguarding and rescue, have not only sustained but increased their commitment and response to a resurgence of water related activities across the country. We shouldn’t be surprised, it’s what they do!” says Dr Cleeve Robertson, CEO of the NSRI.

“The last two years have been difficult for donors, volunteers, staff and their families but emergency services personnel and supporters always respond and display incredible resilience in the face of austere circumstances. We have done remarkably well financially due to the consistent support of our stakeholders.”

This support has enabled NSRI to continue to operate and deliver services. From this, the NSRI’s volunteers and staff spent almost 157 000 crew hours on training and maintenance operations, thereby ensuring that they were ready for any emergency that could come their way. And that they did – 46 462 crew hours were spent in rescue and event operations. Over 2021, NSRI teams also assisted 39 animals in distress, including 13 seals, 8 whales and even a pelican.

“Our partners, volunteer rescue crews, water safety programs, lifeguarding initiatives, camera projects, Pink Rescue Buoys and our marketing messaging have all contributed to us managing to prevent more lives being lost in 2021,” says Brett Ayres, Executive Director of Rescue Services. “But that is little consolation to the family of a child who has drowned. As always, we need to do more. We need to make a larger effort.”

Also read:

The festive season in numbers
Keeping our kids safe
Survival Swimming: Growth through hard work and donations

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