Stealing one of the pink rescue buoys found at selected beaches, dams and rivers could cost someone their life, warns the National Sea Rescue Institute.
A location number – displayed on the signs that accompany each buoy – lets the NSRI pinpoint the location of the emergency and dispatch rescuers more quickly.
Several of the buoys stationed along the Sea Point Promenade and Rocklands Beach have been repeatedly removed over the past month and not returned, according to the NSRI.
“The pink rescue buoys in these areas have been removed from their poles and some have been found floating in the ocean. These public rescue devices are strategically placed and are to be used strictly to save lives. Removing a pink buoy from a pole for any reason other than a rescue may cost somebody their life,” said NSRI drowning prevention manager Andrew Ingram.
The NSRI says the pink buoy initiative has saved at least 144 lives since its launch in November 2017, but the organisation says the theft of the buoys is “deeply concerning” given the high drawing rate in South African waters.
According to Mr Ingram, the buoys are an emergency flotation device that can be used to assist both rescuer and victim during a potential drowning incident.
“This bright pink float can be used by strong swimmers to help someone during a rescue, or it can be thrown to a person in danger of drowning, while someone else calls for help.
“We are appealing to those who might know or see those who are removing the pink buoy from their poles to stop and return them urgently. Should anyone spot someone please let us know immediately by emailing email@example.com or on our dedicated Pink Rescue Buoy WhatsApp line: 079 802 6773.”