The NSRI’s Pink Rescue Buoys won the 2018 IMRF (International Maritime Rescue Federation) award for Innovation and Technology at a prestigious gala dinner in Norway on the 08th of November.
NSRI head of Drowning Prevention, Andrew Ingram was present at the awards ceremony as a guest of IMRF to receive the award and was invited to present the South African born campaign to the IMRF Europe’s annual meeting.
Journalist and author Gordon Drydon once said “An idea is a new combination of old elements.” The Pink Rescue Buoy project is exactly that. There is a clear pattern where people are drowning because of a lack of floatation. The typical scenario is that someone is in difficulty in the water and a well-meaning bystander goes in to help. Tragically the “helper” is usually the person who may be most likely to drown.
Floatation on beaches was a common site where Life Rings were placed at the water’s edge at beaches, swimming pools and canals. But this practice died out.
Concerned about the rate of drowning, NSRI – a search and rescue organisation, stepped forward to initiate a series of preventative campaigns.
Rescues worldwide use torpedo buoy flotation, these buoys are affordable and effective. The idea was to then make these available as public rescue devises.
Theft was raised as the biggest challenge when presenting the idea. The concept of a unique colour coupled with the need for them to be highly visible in the surf resulted in the signature luminous pink.
Known drowning hot spots were identified, sponsors were found and a pilot project was launched.
12 months later NSRI has 300 installations around the country, and while theft has hovered between 8 and 18%, most importantly 15 lives have been saved.
The next step is to make this pervasive across all beaches and beside all water bodies. Through partnerships and community buy-in this is possible.