The Overberg region is known for its beautiful beaches, which are frequently enjoyed by locals as well as those who visit the area. With this mind, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has equipped their rescue station in Hermanus (Station 17) with a new deep sea rescue vessel, the first fully South African built Offshore Rescue Craft (ORC).
NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson explains that this new world - class rescue boat called The Legacy proudly carries the names of many loved ones. “Our donors have honoured their loved ones and helped us in building this next generation of rescue craft, constructed entirely in South Africa to save lives on South African waters,” he says.
Naomie van der Walt, one of the donors who has put her late son’s name Riaan van der Walt on the boat says this is the best donation in the world. “You won’t believe what this project means to me. This is the best gift that I could give my son, Riaan, who would have turned 31 on the 20th of November 2022, if he hadn’t drowned in 2014, but now I know that he will be part of every rescue operation Station 17 does,” she adds.
This coastline typically sees rescue operations (e.g., RIP current incidents) in season but also supports deep sea offshore rescue operations which include medical evacuations off shipping. The advantage of having a rescue craft of this calibre and range (up to 50 nautical miles) means the NSRI’s call out time will be greatly improved.
Marking this momentous day, the NSRI Hermanus today blessed its newly built Rescue Base as well the ORC. The station has a rich history, it was founded in 1978 by a group of water activists including Michael Clark in whose honour the boat shed has been named.
Also in attendance was the family of the Late Graham Westcott, the first Station Commander of NSRI Station 17 Hermanus. His widow, Anette carried out the ceremony of naming the vessel - The Legacy
“To continue to deliver a world class rescue service in South Africa, we are investing in modern, high-tech rescue crafts that will save even more lives on South African waters,” concludes Dr Cleeve Robertson.
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