Cape Town  - NSRI

The National Sea Rescue Institute
Cape Town

NSRI rescue boat

One of the NSRI rescue boats in the V & A Waterfront

Cape Town Radio in its bid to handle emergencies at sea needs people on the ground to do the dirty work. That is to put to sea in all types of weather conditions, at all hours of the day and night to rescue people who are in danger of losing their lives.

One of its allies is the National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa ( NSRI) who often put to sea in the most terrible conditions in an attempt to rescue people in danger. The NSRI has its headquarters in Sea Point Cape Town, it also has three regional offices in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg.

Along the South African coastline it has 22 stations and it also has one inland.

Without its fleet the NSRI would be a lame duck. It has a fleet of 50 rescue craft all of which are in excellent condition and then there are 650 volunteers who crew these boats in emergencies. Unfortunately the NSRI is not well supported by Government receiving an annual grant of R250,000 to cover all their activities including maintenance of equipment and fuel. Their annual budget is in excess of R5 million.

To make up the deficit it is necessary for them to raise funds for themselves by means of donations, legacies, subscriptions and fundraising efforts. Over the years the NSRI has a proud record of success. They have carried out 11677 rescue missions, assisting 19021 people and saving 1927 lives.

The NSRI is the only voluntary rescue operation on the South African coastline and they carry out 97% of all sea rescues. The fleet of boats used by the NSRI is quite varied. They have small 3-7 metre inflatables and rigid inflatables which are used in the surf and close inshore to rescue people in trouble. They often get called out to rescue kite boarders and surfers who get blown out to sea by the strong winds that blow here.

There are also have a number of larger craft which can operate up to 50 nautical miles off our coastline. They rescue people off burning trawlers, yachts that have been dismasted and other nautical emergencies. One of the rescues recently carried out was the Borobudur ship which ran into difficulties when the wind changed after it rounded Cape Point on its way to Cape Town.

A NSRI craft went to its rescue and towed it into the Table Bay harbour where it was berthed in the V & A Waterfront.

During this week they were once again called out to resue a kite boarder ( a visitor from France) who got blown out to sea. Luckily this man had enough skill and was able to rescue himself and the NSRI located him on the beach after a fruitless search at sea.

As I mentioned earlier, all boat crews are volunteers. They spend many hours of their leisure time away from their families training and often are called out in the middle of the night in foul weather. All crew members are connected to their stations by radio pagers and drop everything they are doing when summonsed to an emergency.

They are highly trained people who have skills in search and rescue, seamanship, navigation, lifesaving, radio operation and first aid. A firefighting qualification is essential and advanced paramedical training is also encouraged.

Commitment to serving their communities, sometimes in terrible conditions, and placing their lives at risk comes naturally to these brave men. Why not give them some financial support, you never know when it could be one of your family or friends in need of help at sea.

They can be contacted at Your donations can be earmarked for a specific station or the NSRI in general. Don't Delay, Donate today!

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Cape Town - NSRI