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The NSRI is ready 24/7 to respond to water-related emergencies. In order for our crews to perform their life-saving work safely and effectively, they rely on the latest equipment, technology and modern, efficiently run bases to launch from.

We currently have an active fleet of over 100 rescue vessels that are used for a wide range of call-outs – from JetRIBs for surf and inshore rescues to our new 14.8 m Offshore Rescue Craft (ORC) that can respond to emergencies far out to sea. On base, we make use of ATVs and quad bikes to access casualties quickly, and our bases’ 4x4 vehicles operate on a rotational fleet system, which means they are all less than four years old.

We also undertake significant remodelling to extend base structures to accommodate additional or larger rescue craft. With each remodelling, rebuild or new build, we conform to the latest legislation regarding energy use, which allows us to install rainwater harvesting systems and proper wastewater management, for example. While energy consumption is relatively low at our rescue bases, we still aim to ensure the buildings are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.

Our greatest asset is our crew, and to ensure their safety at all times, we use various tracking systems to monitor the location of assets and crew. Crew safety is a priority.

In this section

The NSRI continues to develop its visibility and agility by training more sea-going and lifeguard crews, enhancing our fleet, and extending our station footprint across South Africa.

Infrastructure Equipment 2

Recent projects and new additions to the fleet

We’ve begun to gradually replace our 10-12 m Class 1 rescue vessels with the 14.8 m Search and Rescue (SAR) Offshore Rescue Craft (ORC). The new self-righting and purpose-built rescue vessel is designed for rescue operations in extreme conditions. At 14.8 m long and 4.8 m wide, it can be deployed on rescue missions as far as 50 nautical miles (over 92km) from land and has an expected lifespan of at least 40 years.
We are on a rebuild program at various bases to prepare for delivery and housing of the ORC fleet. Our new vessels will be a safety net for a range of industries such as tourism, fishing and water-based recreational industries. Not only will they improve safety, but the fact that NSRI is investing and assembling locally, presents an opportunity for the maritime boatbuilding industry.
We’ve also introduced the Yamaha VX 1050 JetRIB in conjunction with our Lifeguard Unit initiative. This surf-rescue vessel accommodates a helmsman and two crew members and its unique build ensures increased stability and performance capabilities.
Quad bikes/

Watch an NSRI Offshore Rescue Craft build


“The NSRI currently has 44 bases (and growing) around South Africa’s 3 000km coastline including 5 inland dams. It’s our business to save lives on South African waters and to do so, we equip our volunteer crew with the safest vessels and most up-to-date equipment.”

Brett Ayres, Executive Director: Rescue Services