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Who we are

Sea Rescue is a volunteer rescue organisation that is on call 24/7. Our mission is to save lives on South African waters. But we’re more than a rescue service. We educate communities and strive to innovate and constantly evolve and extend our water-safety initiatives through empowerment and visibility.

In this section

An overview of our organisation, its history and people.

What Sea Rescue does

Our volunteer crew, based at 44 stations around South Africa, including rivers and five inland dams, is here to respond to emergencies at sea, on beaches, on dams, in rivers.

We mobilise for swift-water and flooding scenarios, fires on vessels, and medical evacuations off ships and coastal clifftops. We assist commercial trawlers and leisure yachts. We activate for fishermen, swimmers, anglers, hikers, paddlers and surfers. Families and communities are impacted emotionally and economically when lives are lost. Through water-safety education and active rescue, we can save lives, change lives and create futures.

Why it works

Our sea-going crew is complemented by a volunteer Lifeguard Unit and Survival Swimming squads, a host of dedicated full-time water-safety personnel, an Emergency Operations Centre situated at our head office, and dedicated fundraisers who are in communication with our donors and supporters. We’re a people’s organisation, constantly innovating and expanding our footprint to serve our communities through preventive services and education.


How you can help

You can become an active part of our donor community by donating to our projects or entering our Monthly Cash Prize Draw and NSRI Double Mitsubishi Car Competition
Offer your time and join our Survival Swimming squad or Lifeguard Unit. We will train you so you’ll know exactly what to do
Help us spread the water-safety message by inviting our instructors to your schools and clubs or arrange a tour with your local Sea Rescue base to discover exactly what we do

Sea Rescue couldn’t operate without your support. Each life saved and child educated is thanks to your contributions and donations

Our values


We love the sea and combine this love with our commitment to help others.


We have strong family values as individuals, as stations and as an organisation.


We care about people. The medical care that we provide extends this value to the people we rescue.


We are a proud organisation. Proud of the service we deliver, proud of each other and proud to be South African.


We are accountable to the people who we serve, for the service that we deliver and to each other for support.


We value the safety of our crews and that of our patients above everything. And we don’t compromise in ensuring their well-being at sea.

Read more about who we are

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AWARDS  | Published: 31 December 2020

Letter of thanks awarded to three Herolds Bay locals

Station Commander Garth Dominy and Deputy Station Commander Mike Vonk from NSRI Station 23, Wilderness, were honoured in presenting on behalf of the National Sea Rescue Institute of South Africa (NSRI) a letter of thanks to three Herolds Bay locals.The ...

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LIFEGUARDS  | Published: 20 December 2020

NSRI Safety alert and incidents at Salt Rock, Bloubergstrand and Tableview, Hermanus and Durban:

NSRI SAFETY ALERT:NSRI are appealing to the public to be cautious in and around coastal and inland waterways in this week leading up to Christmas Day.The concern is that where beaches have been closed temporarily by Covid 19 restrictions more ...

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EDUCATION  | Published: 3 December 2020

The Science of Rips by Plymouth University

This video is a recording of a rip current workshop that Plymouth University did with NSRI, City of Cape Town professional Lifeguards, Lifesaving Cape Town and Lifesaving South Africa. This edit of the meeting contains the science of rip currents ...

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RESCUE OPERATIONS  | Published: 17 January 2021

Loch Vaal - 6 rescued from flash floods

VAAL DAM:Jake Manten, NSRI Vaal Dam station commander, said:At 08h30, Saturday, 16 January, NSRI Vaal Dam duty crew were activated following a call by EMS made to NSI Gauteng requesting assistance at the Riet River, on Loch Vaal, Vanderbijlpark, 3 ...

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ANIMAL RESCUE  | Published: 15 January 2021

NSRI and Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation “shelle-brate” a turtely awesome story of turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release 

Joint Media (and Turtle) Release: National Sea Rescue Institute and Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation 15th January 2021 NSRI and Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation “shelle-brate” a turtely awesome story of turtle rescue, rehabilitation and release Date: Thursday 14th January ...

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RESCUE OPERATIONS  | Published: 14 January 2021

National: East London, Cape Town, St Lucia

EAST LONDON:Andrew Keil, NSRI East London coxswain, said:At 11h00, Wednesday, 13 January, NSRI East London duty crew were alerted to a runaway boat on the Nahoon River and 2 male teenagers reported to have fallen out of the boat.The boat ...