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No rescue buoys for Richards Bay as equipment stolen

NSRI water safety instructor Mncedisi Hlalatu, who pleads with Richards Bay residents to stop the theft of the organisation’s pink rescue buoys. Picture: NSRI

NSRI water safety instructor Mncedisi Hlalatu, who pleads with Richards Bay residents to stop the theft of the organisation’s pink rescue buoys. Picture: NSRI

Published Nov 26, 2021

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The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in Richards Bay is appealing to the community to return the pink rescue buoys that were stolen from Port Dunford Beach last week.

Every day of every year, people of all backgrounds find themselves in danger in the water, making water safety a universal responsibility. However, despite the continued dangers in South African waters, the organisation’s pink rescue buoys are still being stolen in the Richards Bay area.

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According to NSRI water safety instructor Mncedisi Hlalatu, the buoys are public rescue equipment that can be used to assist both rescuer and victim during a potential drowning incident.

“This bright pink float can be used by strong swimmers who are trained to help someone during a rescue, or it can be thrown to a person in danger of drowning while someone else calls for help.

“Six pink buoys were stolen a week after they were put up at Port Dunford Beach, the Bay Hall area and Pelican Island in Richards Bay. We are appealing to the community to not remove these life-saving devices. If they are not there when they are needed for a rescue, a person may drown,” said Hlalatu.

He said the theft of NSRI's pink rescue buoys in some parts of KZN raised concern.

“We have seen a spike in the theft of these rescue buoys, particularly in the King Cetshwayo and Richards Bay areas in KZN.

“We are in the process of adding trackers to them. A number of them are now monitored by cameras. We hope that these methods will help us during rescues as well as if they are stolen,” he said.

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The NSRI launched the project in November 2017, to remind people to take care when entering the water and not to swim if lifeguards are not on duty at that stretch of the beach.

“There are clear graphics on the sign that explain how to use the rescue buoy, and most importantly the emergency number for the closest NSRI station is printed on the sign.

“If anyone decides against advice to enter the water to try to rescue someone in trouble, first contact the NSRI and then use the pink rescue buoy to provide flotation for that Good Samaritan, as well as for the casualty. Have a plan in place in the event of the emergency,” Hlalatu said.

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