NSRI gets new base in Bay

2015-10-28 06:00
Ian Gray, commander of the NSRI base in Port Elizabeth, shows Alta Rabie around the newly renovated base on Saturday. The revamped building in the Port Elizabeth harbour was opened officially on the weekend and will now be known as the Archie and Alt

Ian Gray, commander of the NSRI base in Port Elizabeth, shows Alta Rabie around the newly renovated base on Saturday. The revamped building in the Port Elizabeth harbour was opened officially on the weekend and will now be known as the Archie and Alt

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AFTER having operated from shipping containers for more than two years, the Bay’s sea rescue team and its equipment now have a safe haven.

The Port Elizabeth chapter of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI, station 6), officially opened its revamped facility in the Port Elizabeth Harbour on Saturday. For the first time, the institute’s expensive boats and equipment will now also be sheltered from the elements.

Ian Gray, station commander of the NSRI in PE, said renovations have been ongoing for quite some time and that the completion of the work was made possible by a generous donation by the Rabie family of PE.

“As a token of our gratitude, the base will be known as the Archie and Alta Rabie Sea Rescue Base.”

Gray said they have just over 40 volunteers doing duty at the NSRI in PE. “Although volunteers don’t have to have specific qualifications, they need to be extremely dedicated.

Dedication and available time are non-negotiable.”

According to Gray, for many reasons, the PE base has extremely good working relationships with other emergency services in the area.

“Among others, we regularly work with the Tactical Task Force, various ambulance services and the South African Air Force.”

Tom Swartz, head of the Tactical Task Force, said the help his team receives from the NSRI is of great value.

“Ian says we help the NSRI, but they help us too. There is great synergy between our organisations.”

Gray said they had responded to 70 call-outs last year. “Since we have no coast guard, the NSRI usually gets the first call when someone needs sea rescue assistance.”

Apart from teaming up with local emergency services, Station 6 also frequently work in conjunction with other NSRI stations. “We give and get support from our neighbouring bases, like Port Alfred, Cape St Francis and Jeffreys Bay.”

He said although some bases around the country have full time permanent staff members, everyone at Station 6 is a volunteer.

“The volunteers all have different personalities and each bring a unique and valuable skill set to the base. We truly are like one big family,” said one of the volunteers, Sheryll Grobler

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