WATCH: Pink Rescue Buoys set up on SA beaches saves lives

2018-01-23 10:47 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) will be rolling out their Pink Rescue Buoys across SA beaches to help prevent loss of life from drowning.

The flotation device can be used by any member of the public to help someone drowning by throwing it to them to help float. The buoys are placed on boards with instructions on how to use it, the emergency number for the NSRI and to ask people to place it back on the board for future use.

SEE: Summer Safety: How to turn the tide on beach dramas this festive season

The first successful rescue using a pink buoy was in December, when a bystander saved a teenager from drowning just before the NSRI arrived.

It's also been used since in the rescue of a body-boarder in Melkbosstrand, as well as assisted in the rescue of two children from drowning in Port Alfred, according to the NSRI. At one point a pink buoy was stolen, but this was eventually returned after public appeal by NSRI.

Buoys have also been placed on Camps Bay, Glen Beach, Dappat Se Gat and Seaforth Beach in Cape Town.

The Jeffreys Bay NSRI team created this video to help raise awareness around the importance of this new programme. You can also support the programme by sponsoring a pink buoy to be placed on beaches without lifeguards.

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Beach Safety in SA

On Sunday Durban's North Beach was hit by big waves, which resulted in the death of a 7-year-old girl. Rescue Care was alerted after the girl was swept off a pier and although life guards managed to find her in the water, their advanced life support paramedics were unable to resuscitate her. 

A dramatic photo opportunity also went horribly wrong earlier this year when a husband and wife were knocked over unexpectedly by wild waves in Hermanus. They were rescued by NSRI and had to be taken to hospital. Afterwards they shared their story in an effort to raise awareness around beach safety.

WATCH: Dramatic Cape beach photo-frolic gone wrong highlights beach safety

In South Africa, 600 children die each year from drowning according to National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). NSRI conducted a report of the 2016 fatalities and concluded over 2 000 fatal drownings.

Remember to drink responsibly - avoid the water if you have had too many drinks.

With many public pools being closed in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape following the drought, beaches are expected to be even busier than usual as visitors seek a cool escape during the hot summer season. It is therefore advised to practice even greater caution while enjoying SA's coastal region.

SEE: Beach safety 101: Plett shark attack a 'freak incident' - NSRI

Beachgoers are also advised to swim as close as possible to lifeguards who are on alert to close beaches if necessary.

Save these emergency numbers on your cell phone:

  • South African Police Service and National Emergency Response 
    Phone: 10111
    Phone from cell phone: 112 (automated response)
  • Ambulance Services
    Emergency - Ambulance Phone 10177
    Emergency - From Cell phone 112 (automated response)
  • Netcare
    Phone 021 981 9890
    Missing Children Emergency 
    Phone 072 647 7464

  • National Sea Rescue Institute 
    NSRI Cape Town - Phone 021 449-3500
    NSRI Saldhana - Phone 022 714-1726
    NSRI Mossel Bay - Phone 044 604-6271
    NSRI Port Elizabeth - Phone 041 507-1911
    NSRI East London - Phone 043 700-2100
    NSRI Durban - Phone 031 361-8567
    NSRI Richard's Bay - Phone 035 753-1991

  • NSRI Inland Dams and Lakes 
    Vaal Dam – Dick Manten – 083 626 5128
    Hartbeespoort Dam – Rod Pitter – 082 990 5961
    Victoria Lake – Graham Hartlett – 082 441 6989
    Witbank Dam – Dean Wegerle – 060 962 2620

  • SANParks - Table Mountain National Park: In case of emergencies - Phone 021 957 4700
  • SANParks general call centre: Phone 012 428 9111

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