Safety tips from the NSRI

To all boaters and paddlers – a few pointers from the NSRI Head Office:  Launching your craft in fine weather could see you fighting through a major storm only hours later and we therefore urge anyone making use of the sea or inland waters to check out weather forecasts before launching.  Please take all the necessary safety precautions into account in order to be prepared for the worse if weather conditions change adversely or if you land up, unexpectedly, in a dire emergency situation.

Also prepare yourself and your crew for an emergency.  Don’t try to handle an emergency situation for the first time only in a real emergency!


Flare gun

Anyone launching any kind of craft to go to sea or on inland waters should keep safety at the top of your mind.  Always:

  • Always let a responsible person know your time of departure, the route you plan to travel and your estimated return time and stick to your route and plans. Make sure the responsible person has an action plan well versed to contact the NSRI if you do not return as scheduled.
  • Check that your craft and equipment are in good working order and carry the correct safety approvals and certifications. Make sure your craft has your name and a land based contact number and your details stenciled on the craft.
  • Have your nearest NSRI emergency phone number stored in your phone (St Francis Bay:  082 990 5969 or visit for more numbers).  Other vital national emergency phone numbers are 10177 (from any phone) and 112 (from a cellphone).
  • Plan for an emergency before launching onto water so that if you land up in a life threatening situation the steps you take to ensure your survival are well rehearsed.
  • Life-Jackets are the safety belts when you are on water and should be worn at all times.
  • Have your communications devices, a cell-phone or VHF radio, with fully charged batteries stored in watertight plastic sleeves.
  • Carry red distress flares, a signaling mirror or CD disc, a referees whistle, a waterproof torch and wear the correct brightly colored gear and a hat and sunscreen and keep yourselves well hydrated.
  • Safety and ensuring your survival when the odds, or the weather, unexpectedly turn against you begins before you leave home. We have gone so far as to recommending to boaters and paddlers to practice by jumping into a swimming pool with all their gear and practice using their safety equipment as it is no good familiarizing yourself with your safety equipment for the first time in a real emergency.
Source:  NSRI, Craig Lambinon