NSRI, LSA link to boost beach safety

2018-05-17 06:00

LOCAL sea rescue volunteers can now train as lifeguards - a first of its kind in the Eastern Cape and the second in the country.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Station 37 Jeffreys Bay recently affiliated with Lifesaving South Africa (LSA), enabling local sea rescue volunteers to train as lifeguards within sea rescue.

“NSRI volunteers have been responding to an increasing number of people in difficulty close to shore - predominantly people caught in rip currents on beaches with no lifeguards,” says Station 37 Jeffreys Bay Station Commander Rieghard Janse van Rensburg.

“Sea rescue crews have modified their method of responding to these emergencies. The interventions include a change in the type of craft that we use, innovations in the training of our crews, and a concerted effort in building relationships with other organisations in the interest of drowning prevention.

Both organisations work together on a national, provincial and local level with special focus placed on education, prevention and rescue.

Leading the way in this initiative was NSRI Station 18 Melkbosstrand, followed by NSRI Station 37 Jeffreys Bay.

“It is a natural progression for sea rescue to get involved with lifeguarding – we already respond regularly to drowning in progress emergencies, often working closely with club and professional lifeguards,” says Janse van Rensburg.

“This step of training some of our NSRI volunteers to be lifeguards, and giving them the opportunity to get the internationally recognised lifeguard award, will allow us to improve and expand our rescue capability.

“NSRI lifeguards will do voluntary duty at designated beaches, and as long as the public choose to swim at a beach that has lifeguards on duty and swim between the flags, lifeguards will be able to offer them a safe beach experience.”

Open Day

Station 37 Jeffreys Bay will have an Open Day from 10:00 to 12:00 on Saturday, May 26. Those interested to become NSRI lifeguards are welcome to attend.

Potential lifeguards must be 14 years or older and be good and confident swimmers. They must furthermore be committed, disciplined, vigilant and willing to help.

For more information, contact Janse van Rensburg at 071 896 6831.

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