Appeal for the return of an NSRI Pink Buoy – Jeffreys Bay

Youngsters ‘captured’ on CCTV with Pink NSRI Buoy

Four young teenagers making off with an NSRI Pink Rescue Floatation Buoy at Jeffreys Bay

NSRI are appealing to 4 young teenagers, 3 males and a female, who have been captured on CCTV cameras, making off with an NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy that is now missing from its post at Point Beach, Wavecrest, Jeffreys Bay.

The incident took place at 21h45, Wednesday, 12th December.

The 4 young teenagers can be seen walking out the car park and turning right into Plane Street. They then stop at the corners of Plane Street and Pagoda Crescent before continuing on their way, one of the teenagers, a male, can be seen clutching onto the NSRI Pink Buoy in one hand.

Anyone who recognises these teenagers from the photo attached can contact NSRI Communications at 0823803800.

NSRI’s safety tips for the Summer holidays

National Sea Rescue

The NSRI suggest ways to enjoy a safe summer

Rule number one, for a safe experience at the beach, is to choose a beach that has Lifeguards on duty and to swim between their flags.

That way you don’t need to worry about rip currents, or suddenly getting out of your depth. Putting an arm in the air and waving for help will get a rapid response from the Lifeguards on duty.  Unfortunately, for various reasons, people regularly swim where there are no Lifeguards on duty. This may be on a beach after the Lifeguard’s duty has finished for the day or at a beach that does not have Lifeguards.   This is when things can go wrong.

In a typical scenario Sea Rescue gets an emergency call for a swimmer in difficulty and, when we get there, we find two or more people in danger of drowning.  Tragically, sometimes we are not able to get there in time and someone drowns. Often the person who does not survive is sadly the kind person who went into the water to try and help a person who was in difficulty.

Because this happens so frequently, Sea Rescue launched our Pink Rescue Buoy project in November 2017.   These bright Pink Rescue Buoys are hung on strategically placed signs and we hope that they will remind people to take care when entering water – and not to swim if Lifeguards are not on duty at that stretch of the beach.

If there is an incident and someone needs help these buoys can be thrown to the person in trouble in the water, providing them with emergency flotation.  There are clear graphics on the sign which explain how to use the Buoy. And most importantly, the emergency number for the closest Sea Rescue station is printed on the sign.

If anyone decides, against advice, to enter the water to try to rescue someone in trouble first call sea rescue then the Pink Rescue Buoy provides flotation for that good Samaritan as well as for the casualty.

Have a plan in place in the event of an emergency to prevent panic:

Make sure you have emergency numbers saved in your cell phone.  Dial 112 from any cell phone in any emergency.

Put the local Sea Rescue number in your phone too (or you can Google Sea Rescue to find the closest NSRI station emergency number)

Check the wind, weather and tides.

Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, make sure they know your route and your intentions.

When climbing on rocks or fishing from rocks – never ever turn your back on the sea and we strongly advise rock anglers to wear a lifejacket and know when spring high tide is.

If you are paddling or if you are on a boat, before you launch, download and always use NSRI’s free SafeTrx app –

Here are some safety tips to bear in mind this summer:

  1. Swim at beaches where and when lifeguards are on duty.

Lifeguards are on duty at selected beaches between 10am and 6pm on weekends and during the week during summer school holidays. Listen to their advice and talk to them about safety on the beach that you are visiting. They are the experts on that beach. If lifeguards are not on duty do not swim.

  1. Swim between the lifeguard’s flags.

Teach children that if they swim between the lifeguards flags the lifeguards will be watching them and can help if there is a problem. Lifeguards watch swimmers very carefully between the flags – just wave an arm if you need help.

  1. Don’t Drink and Drown

Alcohol and water do not mix. Never drink alcohol and then go to swim.

  1. Don’t swim alone. Always swim with a buddy.

If you are with a buddy while swimming there is someone who can call for help if you need it and you can’t wave to the lifeguards or call for help yourself.

  1. Adult supervision and barriers to water are vital.

Adults who are supervising children in or near water must be able to swim. This is vital if it is at a water body that does not have lifeguards on duty. It is extremely dangerous to get into the water to rescue someone so rather throw something that floats to the person in difficulty and call for help (112 from a cell phone and check for the nearest Sea Rescue station telephone number before you visit a beach – put that number into your cell phone). Children should not be able to get through or over barriers such as pool fences to water.

  1. Know how to survive rip currents.

If you swim between the lifeguard flags they will make sure that you are safe and well away from rip currents. If for some reason this is not possible do not swim. Educate yourself about rip currents, there is plenty of educational material here  including videos of what rip currents look like.

  1. Don’t attempt a rescue yourself.

Call a lifeguard or the NSRI by dialling 112 from your cell phone for help. If you see someone in difficulty call a lifeguard at once or dial the nearest Sea Rescue station from your cell phone. You should put this number into your phone before you go to the beach – get the emergency numbers for NSRI here or you can Google for the closest NSRI station emergency number. 112 is a good emergency number – for any emergency – to dial from your cell phone. After calling for help try and throw something that floats to the person in difficulty. A ball, a foam board and so on.

  1. Do not let children use floating objects, toys or tire tubes at the beach or on dams.

You can very quickly get blown away from the shore and as much fun as tubes and Styrofoam are it is easy to fall off them. If a child can’t swim and falls off in deep water they will drown.

  1. Do not be distracted by your cell phone or social media.

While you are looking after children in or near water you need to focus on them and nothing else. Adults who are supervising children should not be distracted or use their cell phone. It is not possible to concentrate on children in the water and be on your phone at the same time.

  1. Visit a beach that has lifeguards on duty – there is a reason that we have repeated this!

Please remember that drowning is completely silent. Someone who is drowning will usually not shout for help. They will be vertical in the water (like they are trying to stand or climb stairs) and they will then silently slip under the water. Listening for children (or adults) in difficulty in the water is not good enough, you must be watching them very carefully. Make sure that they are not getting in too deep or being moved by currents and swept away from the safe swimming area.

Also, be aware of storing water without safety covers and make sure that they are behind barriers to small children. Especially children under 4 years of age. A small child does not have the strength to lift themselves out of a bucket of water and if they fall into a bucket they will drown. At home make sure that your pool has a child safe pool cover or net and an approved fence that has a double locking gate and can’t be climbed by small children.

Have a safety conscious mindset around water. Even your swimming pool at home should have a cloak of safety around it to prevent accidents.

To read more about our Drowning Prevention campaigns and for downloadable material on water safety, please click here:

NSRI Safe Bathing


NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys win International Award

NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys win International Award for Innovation and Technology

The NSRI’s Pink Rescue Buoys won the 2018 IMRF (International Maritime Rescue Federation) award for Innovation and Technology at a prestigious gala dinner in Norway on Thursday night, 08th November.

NSRI head of Drowning Prevention, Andrew Ingram was present at the awards ceremony as a guest of IMRF to receive the award. Today he is invited to present the South African born campaign to the IMRF Europe’s annual meeting. 

Journalist and author Gordon Drydon once said “An idea is a new combination of old elements.”  The Pink Rescue Buoy project is exactly that.  There is a clear pattern where people are drowning because of a lack of flotation. The typical scenario is that someone is in difficulty in the water and a well meaning bystander goes in to help. Tragically the “helper” is usually the person who may be most likely to drown.

Flotation on beaches were a common site where Life Rings were placed at the waters edge at beaches, swimming pools and canals. But this practice died out.

Concerned about the rate of drowning, NSRI – a search and rescue organisation, stepped forward to initiate a series of preventative campaigns. This new unit is headed by Andrew Ingram.

Rescues world wide use torpedo buoy flotation, these buoys are affordable and effective. The idea was to then make these available as public rescue devises. 

Theft was raised as the biggest challenge when presenting the idea. The concept of a unique colour coupled with the need for them to be highly visible in the surf resulted in the signature luminous pink.

Known drowning hot spots were identified, sponsors were found and a pilot project was launched.

12 months later we have 300 installations around the country, and while theft has hovered between 8 and 18%, most importantly 15 lives have been saved. 

The next step is to make this pervasive across all beaches and beside all water bodies. Through partnerships and community buy-in this is possible.

“It is a great honour for our team which has worked on the Pink Rescue Buoy project over the past year to be recognised by the IMRF, said Andrew Ingram, Head of NSRI Drowning Prevention. The spotlight is now firmly on Public Rescue Devices, and effective rip current education. We hope that this combination will help to reduce rip current and failed peer rescue drownings around the globe”, said Ingram. 

NSRI Pink Rescue Buoys 12 months on

15 people rescued in 12 months as communities embrace the Pink Buoy initiative

In November 2017, NSRI launched the Pink Rescue Buoy programme. The intention is to provide easily accessible emergency flotation at drowning hot spots.

Beaches initially targeted were: Wilderness, Plettenberg Bay, Dappat se Gat, Strand and Monwabisi. As funding came in, more buoys were deployed. To date 300 buoys have been installed around the coastline and at rivers, dams and swimming pools.

One year later NSRI report a resounding success. 15 people have been rescued in a 12 month period.

Not only has the programme gained wide support locally, it has also attracted international interest and this month we attend the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) awards ceremony in Norway, where the NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy project is a finalist in the category Innovation and Technology.

Despite initial concern that these buoys would be stolen, for the most part of the year we ran at less than 10% being stolen, peaking at 22% being stolen.  Many of the buoys that had been taken were soon returned, fuelling our belief that awareness and community buy-in are critical to the success of the programme. 

Sadly at Strand Beach we have had repeated theft of buoys at 5 sites along that 2km stretch of coastline (from Mostertsbaai to The Pipe).  Despite local sponsorship and an extensive media and social media campaign, theft of the Pink Buoys in the Strand left us with no other alternative but to withdraw the Pink Rescue Buoys from this area. This was not an easy decision. This is a known drowning hot spot and we remain extremely concerned about this area as the festive season approaches.

The buoys are pink because thats the most visible colour in the surf making them unique to NSRI so if you find one thats not on its pole at the beach you can hand it in at any surf shop, Police Station or call NSRI.

NSRI’s head of Drowning Prevention, Andrew Ingram says:  “We have proven that there is a definite need for these Pink Rescue Buoys. There is no doubt in our mind that this is a project worth investing in. 15 people rescued with the help of a Pink Rescue Buoy in 12 months speaks for itself.”

“The Pink Rescue Buoys are a community initiative, sponsored by the community, for the community. When a community works together the Pink Rescue Buoys remain at their posts, ready for action in the event of an emergency. Just as you would talk to your families about looking both ways before you cross the street, please talk to your families about the Pink Rescue Buoys. Look for one when you get to a beach, and if you see someone carrying one away from the beach, stop them, and explain that a stolen buoy, is a stolen life.” 

Man lost in Surf – Wilderness

NSRI STATION 21 - St Francis Bay

The NSRI Wilderness duty crew were activated following reports of a drowning in progress at Wilderness Main Beach on Friday afternoon 26 October. On arrival on the scene a found local surfer, Phillip Crankshaw, had rescued an adult male British tourist from the surfer after he had been caught in rip currents while swimming.

The man was transported to hospital by ER24 ambulance in a stable condition as a precaution for treatment and observations for non-fatal drowning symptoms.

On Saturday the  NSRI Wilderness duty crew were again called out along with  the Western Cape Government Health EMS rescue following reports of a drowning in progress at Lientjies Klip, Wilderness Beach. The sea rescue craft Clemengold Rescuer was launched and an NSRI rescue vehicle, Metro Rescue vehicle and the SA Police Services responded.

On arrival on the scene a search commenced for a 26 year old Oudtshoorn man who was on a day trip to the coast with family and friends. He had gone missing while swimming in the surf. Despite an extensive sea and shoreline search no sign of the missing man has been found and a Police Dive Unit are continuing in an ongoing search operation.

Thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing man in this difficult time.

Police have opened an investigation.

Life Jacket Cell Phone Alerts NSRI

NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were activated on Saturday morning following reports of surf-skiers in difficulty 1 nautical mile off-shore of Main Beach in the vicinity of the Bell Buoy.

The son of a female surf-skier reported that he had received a phone call from his mother who told him that she was adrift at sea off-shore of Main Beach and that she was drifting in the water in her life jacket after losing a surf-ski that had been loaned to her by her friend who was apparently swimming to shore.

The son reported that his mother had been trying to call him for over an hour from a cellphone she found in the life-jacket of her friend who was swimming to shore.

Because the son did not recognise the phone number he had not answered the phone but eventually after over an hour of him being called consistently from the same phone number he answered the phone and it was his mother calling for urgent help claiming to be in serious trouble at sea.

The NSRI Port Elizabeth duty crew were at our sea rescue station at the time on routine training and immediately the sea rescue craft JTL Rescuer was launched.

The woman was found in the water in the company of a male surf-skier who claimed to be helping her (using his surf-ski for her to hold onto) but she had no surf-ski with her and she claimed to be swimming to shore and claimed to have loaned her own surf-ski to her fellow female surf-skier who had lost her surf-ski.

She had loaned the surf-ski to her friend to use to try to recover that surf-ski that had drifted away in the wind.

The woman was taken on board our sea rescue craft and she was immediately treated for hypothermia.

In the interim the search began for the missing lady surf-ski  with calls to the cellphone going unanswered .Following an extensive search the woman was found in the water in her life-jacket. She had been in the water for over 2 hours and she was severely hypothermic.
She was brought on board the rescue vessel and treatment for severe hypothermia was administered whilst they were taken to the NSRI base.

EC Government Health EMS were activated and both ladies were transported to hospital by ambulance and the one lady was released later and the lady who had been severely hypothermic was kept in hospital overnight.

Both surf-skis washed up later in the afternoon 10 nautical miles South and both surf-skis have been recovered.

It is believed that the two women were taking part in a time trial qualifying for a race when one of them fallen out of her surf-ski. A whale breached apparently breached close to them and in the confusion her surf-ski drifted away from them. Her friend being a strong swimmer, loaned her surf-ski apparently for her to use that surf-ski to try to recover the surf-ski that had blown away from them in the wind, and she had opted to swim to shore.

It is just by chance that she found her friends cellphone in the life- and it was just by chance that her son answered the phone. Her friend who was swimming to shore had no idea that her friend was in any trouble.

The woman who had been adrift at sea in a life-jacket for 2 hours in 16.8 degree water was severely hypothermic and she required aggressive treatment for severe hypothermia and she has been kept in hospital for further treatment.

NSRI continue to urge paddlers and boaters to have the NSRI emergency number programmed into their fully charged phone, always wear a life-jacket and have a referee whistle, red distress flares, and have the free NSRI RSA SafeTrx application on your phone and use SafeTrx every time you launch.

Surf-skiers and fishermen on sea-kayaks, canoes and paddle boards should always try to go in groups of 3 persons and never leave your floating resource (your surf-ski, canoe, sea-