Winner of the IMRF 2018 Award for Innovation and Technology in Maritime SAR
The winner of the innovation and technology category is the NSRI’s Pink Rescue Buoy.
It is designed to be used by bystanders to provide an emergency flotation device to someone in danger of drowning, before the emergency services or lifeguard arrives.
The majority of fatal and non-fatal drownings on South African beaches are as a result of rip currents, and they are most likely to happen when the lifeguard is not on duty.
As a result, the first rescue service on the scene is likely to be the sea rescue and too often they find that there's more one person in trouble in the water, because an untrained bystander has attempted a rescue.
The NSRI Pink Rescue Buoy is high visibility bright pink, easy to spot in the water and comes with a harness, should the rescuer decide to enter the water, providing both the rescuer and victim with a greater chance of survival.
It hangs from a bracket on a specially designed sign which displays the local NSRI emergency number or the closest emergency services together with a location number, so the rescue services know exactly where to respond to.
Graphics show the bystander how to throw the buoy to the victim in the water.
In just nine months since the start of the project, NSRI has installed 249 Pink rescue Buoys around the coast of South Africa, with the aim of positioning one in every high-risk water area.
The first 150 were placed around the East Coast of South Africa targeting the rip currents on the famous ‘Garden Route’, where approximately 80 per cent of the drownings occur, and at the time of the award submission, the Pink Rescue Buoys had already saved 11 lives, 4 of which were children.