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After running a successful lifeguarding pilot project at Melkbosstrand in Cape Town, the NSRI launched its Lifeguard Unit in 2017.

In 2017, the NSRI began evolving from being a purely responsive rescue organisation to being a proactive, preventative one as well. One of the major concerns was the number of drownings occurring at unlifeguarded beaches. After a successful lifeguard pilot programme at Station 18 (Melkbosstrand), more units were established at Station 37 (Jeffreys Bay) and Station 16 (Strandfontein, Cape Town).

The NSRI also worked in conjunction with the Kouga Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape to provide training to the Kouga community to create lifeguard jobs on local beaches. Late in 2018, the NSRI was asked by the Cederberg Municipality to run lifeguarding for Lamberts Bay, Elands Bay and Clanwilliam Dam. The NSRI also began operating municipal and volunteer lifeguarding at Strandfontein on the West Coast as well as Knysna.

In preparation for the 2020/2021 season, which normally runs from 1 December to the end of January, Lifeguard Units were prepared and mobilised at more than 21 beaches and grew exponentially over the past year, as well as an increase in lifeguards by 108.6% from 93 to 194 lifeguard crew.

In this section

The NSRI continues to develop its visibility and agility by training more sea-going and lifeguard crews,
enhancing our fleet, and extending our station footprint across South Africa.

Drowning Chain of Survival 2021
Stewart Seini

“The focus of NSRI lifeguards is prevention. Our teams are chosen from local residents who are trained to understand their area of operation intimately. The skills that we teach emphasise anticipating dangers and educating visitors about these dangers, thus reducing the need for rescue.”

Stewart Seini, Lifeguard Operations Manager