Spare a thought for the NSRI

2018-03-01 06:00

PUBLIC safety in our seas is of critical importance, especially when we are predominantly a nationally and internationally recognised seaside destination. Our beaches are considered some of the best in South Africa but when a situation arises and people get into difficulty and the lifeguard teams are out of reach, it is the local National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) that springs into action and more often than not a good outcome results.

The dedicated NSRI teams are selfless volunteers who at short notice are called upon to drop what they are doing, get to launch and go out and save lives. They are local heroes who provide a year-round service, much to the comfort of the many thousands of beach and sea users.

This is why we have made an award to the NSRI stations at Shelly Beach and Port Edward. I am told that another station is earmarked for Rocky Bay near Scottburgh, and if true then we can be comforted that our entire stretch of the coastline will have excellent service coverage. From our own funds we have in the past provided much-needed equipment for the NSRI and will doing so again.

Tourism in both the private and public spheres does need to recognise the daring work carried out by the stations. I suppose that this is a bit of a plea for individual donors, the corporate sector and philanthropists to donate to our own NSRI stations. Their sustained efficiency does depend on such gestures. When we go to tourism shows many people from up-country (who may not be used to being in the sea or have limited swimming skills) ask: “Is the sea safe down there?”.

Because we have a number of permanently managed beaches with lifeguards (and of course our Blue Flag beaches with beach stewards) and the additional support from the NSRI, we are in a strong position to neutralise their concerns. Let’s continue to keep our maritime gem on that even keel of being sunny and safe.

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