The satisfaction of saving lives

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What is the name of your career? I am station commander at The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Langebaan. NSRI is an NPO with rescue bases around the country. Our motto is “Saving lives on South African waters”. We assist where people and sea creatures are in difficulty around the coastal and inland waters.

What does the job entail? We are on call 24/7 to assist people in difficulty. We have sea- going crew as well as land-based crew. When a call for assistance comes in, we launch a boat and the crew go to sea for the rescue.

Why did you decide to venture into this career? I retired and wanted to give something back to the West Coast community. Most of our crew have jobs and have a love of the sea. They give their time, as a volunteer and for no payment, to learn all things maritime. Training is intensive before trainees can become rescue crew. To become a coxswain of a vessel the intensive training continues.

How does one go about training? Studies and training are done in house and on line after work and on weekends. I had to pass many modules of the studies to become shore-based crew. The crew elects an eligible crew member to the position of station commander.

Why would you encourage young people to go into this career and what makes this career great? People of all ages can join the NSRI. Everyone learns what commitment is required and a vast knowledge about boats and everything maritime is taught. For those that have an interest in the sea, the knowledge gained and the satisfaction in saving lives is great.

What challenges does one face in this career? There are many challenges. We go to sea in all kinds of weather. We have to learn how to balance our lives between personal and NSRI time. If we want to advance within the ranks of NSRI, we have to study and pass the various modules and courses.

Is there any other additional information you would like to add? I would again like to stress that it is not a salary earning career. We are not part of the 5 day 9 to 5 working week. We volunteer our time because we want to. If anyone wants to see what we do or join our organisation they are welcome to contact us on the email address station4@searescue.org.za. Please send your contact phone number and we will get back to you. We are based next to the slipway in Mykonos Marina, Langebaan.

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