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Our NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a surfer appearing to be being swept out to sea on a surf board at the surf spot Kitchen Windows in front of our NSRI Jeffreys Bay rescue base. Also, at 12h43, Thursday, 12 May, we were alerted to reports of 2 kayakers in difficulty off-shore of Preekstoel. Our NSRI Still Bay duty crew were activated and our NSRI rescue craft Colorpress Rescuer was launched.


Paul van Jaarsveld, NSRI Jeffreys Bay station commander, said:

I was at our base doing some routine repairs and busy locking up the base to leave when a fellow crewman arrived at our base to also conduct some routine maintenance.

At almost the same time Law Enforcement officers raced into our driveway reporting a surfer being swept out to sea in front of our base.

While on duty in the area the Law Enforcement officers had noticed the surfer gradually being swept further out to sea by the off-shore wind which was South Westerly at about 30 knots and while keeping eyes on the surfer they noticed we were at our base and they raced over to raise the alarm.

Because myself and my fellow crewman were already at our NSRI base our NSRI rescue craft jet-rib, Rescue 37 Alpha, was launched almost immediately while additional crew were responding to base.

While heading out to sea to assist it was determined that the surfer, a local female, was learning to surf when she was gradually swept further out to sea. Her surf instructor had paddled out and on reaching her he had guided and assisted her safely to the shore. No further assistance was required.

NSRI commend our Law Enforcement officers who raised the alarm and we commend the surf instructor for his quick reaction to retrieve his student.


Jean du Plessis, NSRI Still Bay station commander, said:

We got visuals of the 2 casualty kayakers from when we were about a nautical mile away from them. They had also seen the NSRI rescue craft and they had set off a red distress handheld flare.

On our arrival at their side we found that one of the two kayaks was semi-submerged, taking water and drifting into the surf zone. They were about a nautical mile off-shore.

We rescued the casualty kayaker and his waterlogged kayak onto our NSRI rescue craft and the second kayaker chose to paddle back to the harbour which he did without incident. The casualty kayak was drained of water and we brought the casualty kayaker and his kayak to the harbour without incident.

Once both were safely in the harbour they required no further assistance.

The local kayakers recounted to NSRI that they had departed at 08h00. They fished without incident for most of the morning trawling and bottom fishing along the back shoreline, further out to sea and closer towards the surf zones.
While they were fishing the one kayak became unstable and it was noticed that the bung of that kayak had popped out causing the kayak to take in water, become unstable in the water and begin to submerge.
They rafted their kayaks together but against an off-shore wind they struggled to paddle towards the harbour because of the waterlogged kayak and because they were aimed head on into a stiff breeze so they made the decision to raise the alarm and alert the NSRI.
While they do have the free NSRI RSA SafeTrx app on their phones they had not been using SafeTrx so they phoned for assistance and within about 20 minutes from their call the NSRI rescue craft reached them.
Had their phone call not been answered they would have activated the NSRI RSA SafeTrx emergency alert.

NSRI commend the 2 fisherman for having safety gear and an emergency action plan in place.

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