Image: Supplied/NSRI

NSRI volunteer rescue crews remain on standby during the lockdown

NSRI appeal to the public to have home safety top of mind during the extended lockdown.


Image: Supplied/NSRI

NSRI volunteer rescue crews around the country remain on high alert to respond to emergencies despite the challenges posed by the extended national lockdown.

While there should be fewer people entering the water recreationally as an emergency rescue service, the NSRI are deemed essential and continue to operate as commercial fishing and international shipping are ongoing.

“Observing Department of Health regulations and protocols a reduced crew attend and conduct routine maintenance and boat checks at our sea rescue stations around the country on a weekly basis to ensure that our sea rescue craft and equipment are in peak and serviceable order and ready to be deployed to emergencies,” a press release from Sea Rescue reads.

“Reduced crew launch our rescue craft weekly to conduct necessary routine exercises and boat checks.

“Our training department has devised online theory training tasks and physical training tasks that can be done at home in our ongoing efforts to keep our volunteer rescue crews in tip top mental and physical shape for the demands of emergency operations.”

NSRI rescue swimmers and NSRI lifeguards, in particular, have to stay in peak physical shape.

The volunteers have employed innovative ways to exercise at home and the lockdown has seen some creative ideas developed.

“Our NSRI CEO, Dr Cleeve Robertson, has gone so far as to devise a rope system tied to a tree and tied around the waist to aid resistance training in a home swimming pool that is not large enough for a person to do laps.”

The NSRI is a non-profit organisation staffed by volunteers who assist the SAPS, metro police and emergency medical personnel to both ensure water safety is maintained and rescue people in distress in South African waters.

The organisation relies on donations from the public. It has a telemarketing crew who are currently working from home to ensure that funding for the critical service does not run dry.

“NSRI is funded by public donations and sponsorships and our tele-marketing team are working from home continuing in our efforts to raise much needed funds and we commend the public for their support and assistance.

“NSRI appeal to the public to have home safety top of mind during the extended lockdown.”

The NSRI have been kept busy by reports of boats in distress and also instances of lockdown louts slipping out into the ocean for a swim or paddle. South Africans are reminded that swimming in the ocean is not allowed during lockdown.