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Mdumbi Beach, a scenic tourist location in the Eastern Cape, is in the process of setting up its own NSRI base, and recently moved into its own building.

On a scouting trip up the Wild Coast several years ago, representatives from the NSRI’s volunteer support centre (head office) met with lifesavers and members of the community of Mdumbi, almost 8km North of Coffee Bay in the Eastern Cape. The location already had several trained lifesavers who were keen to join the NSRI, and the decision was taken to build on their skills and work towards establishing a base in the area.


Sam Rorwana from Station 16 (Strandfontein) was asked to head up the training for the new base – Station 49 – partly because his father, who lives in the Eastern Cape, had approached the NSRI to establish a base in the area, and Sam, an experienced trainer and Coxswain, usually travels through the area several times a year to visit his family.

“The Mdumbi lifeguards were already well trained, so we had that to build on,” says Sam. “We started with the rescue swimmer training programme, to bring those who were not already trained lifeguards up to speed, and we are now in the process of initiating sea rescue crew training via the NSRI’s online training academy. This includes theoretical training such as nautical terminology, navigation, first aid, fitness and various seamanship skills. From there, we will move onto practical training.”


Station 49 has already amassed over 60 crew, which includes crew from two satellite bases (Coffee Bay and Hole-in-the-Wall) roughly 10 to 20 kilometres south of the Mdumbi base. Rescues typically include drownings, as the area is a hotspot for tourists, with the occasional vessel or shark incident.

The base does not yet have a rescue vessel to its name, however it now has the necessary rescue equipment, and recently acquired its first building in which to conduct training, while two apartments have been made available for equipment storage. Previously, the base operated out of the local backpackers, the owner of which is the current station commander, Johan Stadler.

“This building is not yet the base’s permanent home – it belongs to the community, which has kindly allowed the NSRI to use it,” says Sam. “There is enough room for some tables and chairs, so it will make an effective classroom from which to continue our training.”

Congratulations to the Mdumbi crew on their progress – we look forward to reporting back on further developments soon.

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