NSRI’s pink buoys save lives

2019-10-22 06:00
There are 463 pink buoys at drowning hot spots around the country.

There are 463 pink buoys at drowning hot spots around the country.

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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) presented its Pink Rescue Buoy emergency flotation project at the International Lifesaving’s biannual World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) in Durban on Friday 11 October.

NSRI’s drowning prevention manager, Andrew Ingram, addressed delegates from around the world, explaining where the idea originated from, how it has been funded and implemented and that to date the pink rescue buoys have been used to save the lives of 46 people who were in danger of drowning.

Ingram said the Pink Buoy project was launched in November 2017 following the WCDP in Vancouver where they were inspired by the success stories of similar initiatives.

A project in Hawaii reported 150 successful bystander rescues with no harm to the untrained rescuer being reported in any of these rescues.

A project started in 1971 in Ireland also had phenomenal success in getting emergency flotation to a drowning victim while emergency services were responding.

Ingram said an observation from similar projects that were happening around the globe was that untrained people were going to the aid of someone who was in danger of drowning despite being advised not to.

“Our Pink Rescue Buoys use simple graphics to explain that it is better to throw the float to someone and call for help.

But if someone does go into the water despite the danger, they have a much better chance of survival if they take flotation with them,” said Ingram.

Sea Rescue has the support of many municipalities to put this emergency flotation in drowning hot spots. Each Pink Rescue Buoy costs R1 500 and is privately sponsored which means that there is no cost to the municipalities.

“We currently have 463 pink buoys at drowning hot spots around the country.” Ingram hopes support from individuals and companies will help expand the project.

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