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NSRI OF THE WESTERN CAPEThe West coast of South Africa has earned itself a reputation by all accounts stretching back to the dawn of antiquity. Her displays of unadulterated natural power and formidable strength can be seen scattered across the depths of her opal blue waters in what remains of many a sea vessel. There are however a select few that have sacrificed and risked their very lives in the selfless pursuit of preserving life, and keeping the forces of nature at bay. The origins of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) can be traced back to a series of letters written by Miss Pattie Price, following the drowning of seventeen fisherman aboard three fishing vessels in 1966. The vessels where dragged to the depths near the town of Mossel Bay, and in so doing, gave life to the urgent need for a national sea rescue initiative. Miss Price advocated this very cause through her letters to a number of newspapers and in effect resulted in the formation of what we now know as the NSRI in 1967. The South African NSRI is a non profit organisation, comprising of over 1000 volunteers who commit both time and energy in safeguarding our coast, and providing a number of educational avenues through which they endeavour to save lives. There are 41 bases located at strategic points along our coast and inland where large dams or bodies of water are present. Twenty three of these bases are located in the Western Cape and operate purely through charitable donations and the service of volunteers. Above and beyond the core principal of saving and safeguarding the West coast, they also assist in conservation rescue efforts and educational incentives. The rich biodiversity and numerous stunning locations along the coast has seen tourism escalate in the region, thus resulting in the dire need and services of the Western Cape NSRI.
One such incentive is aimed at assisting volunteers from the South African Whale Disentanglement Network (SAWDN) in removing debris and nets which have entangled wales, potentially a death sentence for these amazing creatures!
Other projects include educating individuals who work in or around bodies of water providing an insight into the various unique hazards and dangers that they pose. Certain key elements are integrated into the course which was conceptualised and presented by the NSRI. (October 2021) A number of projects have seen incredible results, and it is these progressive wins that has prompted further outreach programmes. The 2015 partnership that saw the NSRI join forces with the Western Cape Education department in an effort that has resulted not only in teaching children about water safety but has quite literally saved lives! Without question these brave men and woman continue to spread awareness and answer the call to help without hesitations. In a time when self interests seems to dominate every decision humankind makes we find organisations like the NSRI, and in particular the teams of volunteers at 23 bases along our West coast who have for decades offered the hand of help when most needed!