Another Chokka boat tragedy

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated early Sunday morning following a request for assistance from the Chokka boat Silver Explorer reporting an adult male crew member onboard suffering a seizure.

Silver Explorer headed for Port of St Francis from Kabeljous to rendezvous with the NSRI  sea rescue craft Spirit of St Francis II but on arrival at the rendezvous point, the Chokka boat skipper confirmed that his crew member sadly passed away. NSRI medics boarded the Silver Explorer and sadly confirmed the fisherman was deceased.

Silver Explorer continued into Port where they were met by the SA Police Services and the body of the deceased fisherman was taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services. SA Police Services have confirmed to the NSRI that an inquest docket will not be opened following the passing away of a fisherman.

SA Police Services have confirmed to the NSRI that an inquest docket will not be opened as the fisherman died of natural causes after suffering a seizure.

Sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of the fisherman.

NSRI Open Day

NSRI Open Day and you are invited

This year the National Sea Rescue Institute celebrates 50 years of saving lives at sea. Each Station around the coast will have its own celebration and we at Station 21 – St. Francis Bay have combined our Open Day and 50th Celebrations into one big Sea Rescue event!

Our base will be open to the general public from 10am – 2pm on the 27 April. Activities will include a base tour, magnificent boat displays with Spirit of St Francis II and a meet and greet with the volunteer crew.  We have a fun line-up for the kiddies which includes face painting and a jumping castle!

National Sea Rescue Institute celebrates 50 years

Drowning at The Cove

Man drowns at The Cove

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis BaySt Francis NSRI Duty Crew were alerted to a drowning in progress at the Cove on the St Francis Bay Canals on Saturday afternoon and immediately dispatched rescue swimmers to the scene. Two  private boats that were in the vicinity also assisted but the man had disappeared under water having been swept away from the cove by a strong rip current. An extensive search was put into action including a sweeping line search conducted by the NSRI rescue swimmers. It took some two hours to finally locate the body of the man who was recovered from the water by the NSRI rescue swimmers and brought ashore where the body was handed to the SA Police Forensic Pathology services. An inquest docket has been opened by the police who are also assisting the family of the man believed to be a local resident in his mid-30’s.

Injured Dolphin Euthanised

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

Rare beached dolphin euthanised

Beached dolphin at Jeffrys Bay

Photo by NSRI Jeffreys Bay. Show the injured dolphin being cared for at Kabaljous Beach.

A call from Paul Makupula, from Jeffreys Bay Lifeguards reporting a baby dolphin stranded at Main Beach Jeffreys Bay was received by NSRI Station commander, Ernie Schmidt early on Saturday morning. Schmidt and his wife, Elaine who is also an NSRI crew member, responded to the scene. Elaine had recently completed the Marine Animal Stranding Network course presented by Bay World in Port Elizabeth in conjunction with The Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts.

“Unfortunately, when we arrived on the scene it was found that the dolphin had been put back into the sea several times but it kept beaching. By the time we arrived it did not beach again” commented Schmidt. “It appears to have been a juvenile Bottlenose dolphin and we stayed in the area for some 90 minutes in case there was another beaching” continued Schmidt who then briefed the lifeguards not to try to put the dolphins back in the water, but to rather call the NSRI to activate the Stranding Network who deal with strandings in the appropriate manner.

Later in the day, a little before 4pm, a call from Tim Baard at Kabeljous Beach reported another, much larger dolphin stranded, and that the dolphin had fairly severe wounds on its side and back behind the dorsal fin.

Schmidt continues.  “Myself and my wife Elaine arrived on the scene and organised the lifeguards and some members of the public to assist us in dealingl with the animal ensuring that it suffered as little stress as possible while decisions were being made about the fate of the severely wounded animal. NSRI’s Michael van den Bergh was summoned to bring our NSRI Rescue Mobile to the beach.  The dolphin was an adult, male, Striped Dolphin, reportedly a species very rarely seen in the area”.

Dr Greg Hoffmeyer, of Bayworld, was contacted by Malcolm Logan who assists him in the Jeffreys Bay area and Dr Hoffmeyer immediately organised a veterinary surgeon from the local Oribi Animal Hospital, Dr. Kathy Bezuidenhout, to examine the animal.  He also contacted Mike Meyer of the Department of Environmental Affairs – Oceans and Coasts to get approval and to advise on action in cooperation with the vet.

After examining the dolphin the it decided that the wounds were too severe for it to live if it were put back into the sea and arrangement were were made to take the animal to the Animal Hospital. The dolphin was too big to fit onto the NSRI Rescue Mobile  and a member of the public came to the NSRI’s assistance with a pickup truck.  Mr Pierre Hertzog, from Bloemfontein, and his two sons Hans and Dirk agreed to help (The Hertzog family happen to also be involved with the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) for whom they at times assist with the tagging of sharks).

The dolphin was loaded into a Stokes basket stretcher and transported off the beach to the pickup truck and then transported with a team of carers on the pick-up truck to the Animal Hospital where sadly, after all attempts to save the dolphin were exhausted, the dolphin was humanely euthanised by the vet.

Everyone who assisted is commended in this incident.

NSRI urge the public to call NSRI in cases of Marine Animal strandings so that the Marine Animal Stranding Network can be activated.

NSRI Saving Lives

NSRI hard at work

Bathers around our coastline and indeed at bodies of water inland, owe NSRI a huge amount of respect and gratitude not only for the amazing work they do in saving lives, so often endangering their own in the process, but also for their commitment to both informing the public with regular press releases of the the dangers as well as with their education programmes such as WaterWise.

NSRI Saving Lives

Between the 1st of December, 2016 and the 2nd of January, 2017, NSRI responded to 132 operations in which 193 persons were rescued. In 38 of these operations we responded to boats and ships calling for assistance and we evacuated 3 patients for medical reasons from ships. 10 animals were also assisted. 37 fatal drownings (23 adults and 14 children) were attended to around the coast and on inland waters.

While the majority of the drownings are attributable to drownings in the sea suspected to be caused by coastal rip-currents some were from suspected medical causes and others from fatal drownings in lagoons, swimming pools, rivers, lakes and dams or from accidents around water.

NSRI are committed to drowning prevention.

NSRI Waterwise

Myles Minnaar from Pioneer Fishing joins a WaterWise Academy class and sits with children from HP William School in St Helena Bay.

Our media safety campaign, our WaterWise program which has reached almost a million children around the country and which has also seen the Western Cape Department of Education adopting this program into the school curriculum, the introduction of pool noodles to some beaches in a pilot project, and in an intense collaboration with other services – the SA Police Services, SA Lifesaving, Provincial Government Health EMS, Private ambulance services, Municipalities and their Municipal lifeguards and Municipal Law Enforcement agencies, Fire Departments, Traffic Departments, local lifesaving agencies, SA National Parks, Community Services and National and Regional Emergency Call Centres.

NSRI urge bathers to only visit beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty. On our website at we regularly post advice on rip currents, Spring Tides, water safety advice and we encourage paddlers and boaters to download the RSA Safetrx free app to their cellphones and to carry safety equipment.

We encourage the public not to drink alcohol around water and we urge parents to make sure that children have responsible adult supervision around water (coastal and inland waters) and that your swimming pool at home has a cloak of safety around it.

As we approach the Full Moon Spring Tide, which peaks on the 12th of January, we will again be warnings of the increase in risks to coastal bathers and anglers from stronger rip currents from the 8th of January onwards.

Press Release 04/01/2017

WaterWise (59 seconds)

NSRI Recruitment Video (2 mins 23 seconds)

Busy New Year’s Day for NSRI

NSRI called in for multiple rescues on New Years Day

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

NSRI Stations along the South African southern coastline had a busy day with rescues and assisted rescues streching from Cape Town to East London with several in close proximity to St Francis


NSRI St Francis Bay duty crew were activated shortly after 5:00pm on New Year’s Day following reports of a drowning in progress at Grannies Pool, St Francis Bay.

On arrival on the scene two adult females and a female child were found already on the beach.

A Clifton Beach Surf Lifesaving lifeguard, on holiday in St Francis Bay noticed while surfing that the three were in difficulty on the Granny’s Pool slipway and rushed to their assistance. He assisted getting them safely to the beach from where they were transported to hospital by EC Government Health EMS in stable conditions for observation for secondary drowning symptoms.


An NSRI Jeffreys Bay duty crew dispatched a sea rescue vehicle and rescue swimmers to Kabeljous Lagoon Beach following reports of a drowning in progress. on New Year’s Day, An EC Government Health EMS ambulance and an EMS rescue helicopter and the SA Police Services responded and on arrival at the scene found a doctor and a nurse, who happened to be on the beach at the time, conducting Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a 54 year old man from Port Elizabeth.

An EMS doctor from the EMS helicopter assisted with CPR but after all efforts to resuscitate the man were exhausted he was declared deceased on the scene. The body of the deceased man has been taken into the care of the Forensic Pathology Services and Police have opened an inquest docket.

An additional three bathers, an adult man and two boys aged 16 and 15, were treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms and transported to hospital by ambulance in stable conditions. It appears that a family including the deceased 54 year old man, his brother in law and two nephews were swept out to sea by rip currents.

A British couple, on holiday assisted in rescuing them from the surf and while assisting they were assisted by Kouga lifeguards. The British couple, Carl and Magdelaine Grey as well as the unidentified doctor and Nurse are commended for their actions.

Later in the day, also in Jeffreys Bay, Kouga lifeguards were involved in rescuing a group of people at Pellsrus beach next to the NSRI sea rescue station and NSRI were at hand to assist. A 27 year old man from Uitenhage had been rescued by lifeguards and members of the public and he was transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance in a stable condition after he was transported from the beach to the roadway by our NSRI Quad Bike.

At a little after 4:00pm Jeffreys Bay NSRI was again called following reports of a non-fatal drowning at Kitchen’s Window where a 38 year old male from Uitenhage was rescued from the surf by lifeguards and members of the public.

EC Government Health EMS and Private Care ambulance services joined NSRI and lifeguards on the beach and the man was transported to hospital by Private Care ambulance in a stable condition where NSRI assisted by transporting the patient from the beach to the ambulance on the NSRI Quad Bike.

Then shortly after 5:00pm, also at Kitchen’s, Kouga Lifeguards requested NSRI Jeffreys Bay assistance as an adult man had collapsed unconscious at Kitchen’s Window car park after suffering a suspected heart attack.

The SA Police Services, EC Government Health EMS joined NSRI on the scene but the man was declared deceased and a funeral service have taken the body of the deceased man into their care.

Finally to end a busy day a 13 year old boy arrived at the Jeffreys Bay sea rescue station suffering a severe laceration to his left foot. The NSRI medics treated the laceration and a WC Government Health EMS ambulance transported the teenager to hospital for sutures.

NSRI Jeffreys Bay also dealt with six cases of lost children on the beach today of which five were reunited with family and the other was taken into the care of the SA Police Services and handed into the care of child care.

And at Wilderness also on New Year’s Day two brothers aged 23 and 12, caught in rip current at Wilderness were found safely ashore by NSRI rescue swimmers who had responded following eye-witness reports. They required no further assistance.

At 5:30 were NSRI Wilderness duty crew noticed people busy with CPR at the Wilderness lagoon and dispatched NSRI medics who found a father conducting CPR on his 7 year old son who he had rescued from the lagoon following a drowning accident and NSRI medics took over CPR efforts.

Eden 911 ambulance services, EER International paramedics, the SA Police Services and SA National Park rangers responded to assist.

Efforts to resuscitate the child were successful and the child was transported to hospital by Eden 911 ambulance in a stable condition.

Press Release from NSRI – Edited

How to avoid rip currents

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