Sea Rescue Magazine
What a busy year 2018 has been! It seems crazy that I’m sitting writing for the end-of-year edition of the magazine – time is floating by and summer is upon us. We get caught up in the energy and enthusiasm that exudes from volunteers up and down each coast as they adapt to the changing face of rescue. The one thing about the ocean and water is the variability and change that continuously challenges our systems, and our response has to be fluid by necessity (excuse the pun).
Fortunately we can depend on the exuberance of youth, the resilience and experience of the older generation, and the consistency of commitment from everyone to respond to new challenges. We can see examples evolving every day, like the Pink Rescue Buoy campaign, our latest lifeguarding units, swift-water rescue training, pilot ladder fall protection, aerial drones, cellphone applications, new offshore rescue vessels, new rescue stations… The list goes on. The refreshing thing is that, every day, Sea Rescue is different, evolving and transforming to achieve our mission of saving lives.
Next year should see us establishing a rescue footprint on the far East Coast (St Lucia) and the West Coast (Port Nolloth) and penetrating further inland with our water-safety education. Dams, canals and rivers pose significant challenges to our drowning prevention efforts, and long stretches of unguarded beaches with deadly rips are another challenge. We have introduced a new model of lifeguarding to cover larger areas of beach with an all-terrain vehicle and a Jetski with a sleigh, and we are developing a survival-swimming programme to provide children with the ability to float, get to the side and get out!
The articles in this edition of our magazine tell these stories, as well as about women taking up leadership roles, about expanding operational footprints and partnerships, about reaching out to children, about funding the new offshore rescue vessels (ORCs) and much more.
In achieving the above, your fundraising team is working tirelessly to raise the capital for expanding our services and revitalising the fleet. It’s hard work in the current economy – raising almost R20 million for a capital asset like the ORC rescue vessel is a real stretch – but with faith in the South African community and your continued support we will get there!
Enjoy the summer and the water. ‘Just do it’, only safely!
Dr Cleeve Robertson