Part 1 – A brief history and introduction
The history of the Mossel Bay NSRI Station 15, believe it or not, is tied to the formation of the South African Inshore Search and Rescue Service (SAISRS) formed way back in 1967. It dates back to an incident in 1966 which triggered the need to form a sea rescue organisation. The incident was the tragic sinking of 3 fishing vessels during a terrible storm off our coastline at Stillbaai, which claimed the lives of 17 fishermen. This prompted Miss Pattie Price, a swimming teacher living in Simon’s Town to act. She took it upon herself to motivate the Master Mariners Association to form a sea rescue organisation. The outcome a year later was the formation of the South African Inshore Search and Rescue Service (SAISRS), now called the National Sea Rescue Institute or NSRI.
The SAISRS initiated a project to examine the South African coastline, looking for high risk areas to position a sea rescue station and the Mossel Bay area was identified as a strategic area. 1969 Saw the Mossel Bay Municipality, together with a number of civic organisations getting together to organise and fund a local station and in May 1971 the Mossel Bay Station 15 was formally opened.
21st of May 2021 will mark the Jubilee year for Station 15. To commemorate this occasion a book called “Mossel Bay Jubilee” will be made available to the public. The book, the brain child of Station Commander Andre Fraser and written and edited by a team of 8 individuals, is fast nearing completion. The book will put down on paper, the history and development, plus many stories told by the old and the new guard of Station 15. There is a call to members of the public who have been rescued in the past by Station 15 to make contact. Your accounts will be used in the upcoming book, so please come forward and recount your rescue as you experienced it.
Station 15 handles on average about 3 callouts per month. This callout rate varies with the amount and type of activity taking place in and around our shoreline. The type of activities with associated accidents and incidents vary with the season and seasonal changes. An example would be the ongoing trend away from commercial fishing vessel callouts with their medical and mechanical emergencies, towards passenger extrications from vessels passing by our shores with medical emergencies requiring urgent hospitalisation.
There is a lot more to tell, so look out for the next installment but for now I leave you with an appeal from Station 15 Commander Andre Fraser: ” Make the call first and question yourself later.”
Caption: The committed sea going crew members of Station 15 who volunteer their time and energy to save lives.