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04 December 2011

East London sea rescue is the best in SA


HONOURED: Station commander for the East London National Sea Rescue Institute Geoff McGregor says winning the top award would boost his crew in their work. Picture: SINO MAJANGAZ

East Londoners who put their lives in danger to respond to sea rescue emergencies walked away with top honours at the National Sea Rescue Institute awards held in Cape Town in August.
The East London branch, known as Station 7, received awards for the best station and most improved station in the country.
East London station commander Geoff McGregor said rescuing someone was a special feeling and the awards would boost them in their work.
“When you get to save somebody’s life and see the appreciation on their face, it makes [you] feel special,” he said
McGregor, who has been part of the East London crew for the past 26years, said they had a highly motivated team that always did their best at their job.
He said they had 20 qualified coxswains, 10 crew members and five trainees. “All the workers at the base are qualified volunteers who love doing this job.”
He said one special moment was when they rescued two guys on a very rough day off Kei Mouth after their boat overturned at sea.
“The weather was bad and we had to get aircraft in to help.”
He said the boat was upside down and the two men were sitting on top of it. “It was very special because we managed to save a father and a son in one rescue.”
The NSRI is run by 980 skilled unpaid volunteers at 32 coastal and three inland stations countrywide. The crew members are always on standby to attend to urgent matters at sea.
NSRI chief executive Ian Wienburg said the volunteers were special people because they helped people or animals in need.
“At NSRI, our volunteers take it one step further. They do not sign up for ‘two hours on a Thursday’ – they commit to NSRI and agree to make themselves available to go at any time, any place, anyhow.”

- Daily Dispatch