Sea Rescue Magazine
I’ve just got out of the tidal pool after my morning swim. It’s raining, and the sea water is warmer than the rain – it must be winter! My swim also reminded me of two of our crew, Heidi McAllister and Jessica Thomson from Station 3 (Table Bay), who are soon to complete a Robben Island swim and are using our ‘GivenGain’ platform – and the power of collaboration – to raise funds for Sea Rescue.
We do a lot, but most of what we do could not be achieved without working with all sorts of people and organisations across the country. These relationships and their extensive diversity and spectrum are key to achieving our vision.
Government and parastatals are long-term partners; the President has always been our patron; and the Department of Transport, the South African Search and Rescue Organisation, TransNet National Ports Authority and SAMSA are close collaborators, although in a positive and robust interaction we don’t always agree and often wrestle to evolve the right approach. ACSA, likewise, is a staunch supporter with whom we work to maintain coastal airport aircraft-ditching plans.
All around South Africa we depend on local emergency medical services to back us up with paramedics in the air, at sea and on land, and without our own paramedic medical capacity this collaboration provides a welcome safety net for the ill and injured we rescue.
In the prevention space, our working relationship with the Department of Education and individual schools accommodating water-safety education is essential to reaching at least a percentage of the 15 million learners in the system. Discussions with Scouts South Africa, the Department of Water and Sanitation, Lifesaving South Africa, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and other organisations will expand both advocacy for and education and skills development related to water safety. We recently met with the Coordinated Inland Water Safety Project and in future will be included in their structures and share our experiences to advance water safety inland on dams and canals.
At a rescue level we interact daily with local authority services, private services, lifesaving agencies, the diving units of the South African Police Service, clubs, fishing companies, and sports bodies and individuals. Each one of these interactions ensures that we deliver on stakeholder expectations and save lives.
Rescue is a collaborative and team effort: together we don’t drop the buoy!
Dr Cleeve Robertson