NSRI pink buoys
Photo Credit: NSRI

The NSRI have been shortlisted for an international innovation award at the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) Awards for their pink buoy.


The NSRI Pink buoys are placed across beaches in South Africa as a way to help prevent drowning. The concept of the buoy is for the public to use the buoy while they wait for a lifeguard or the emergency services.

The NSRI released their pink buoys in 2017 after noticing a similarity the various scenarios where drownings occured.

‘In a typical scenario Sea Rescue gets an emergency call for a swimmer in difficulty and, when we get there, we find two or more people in danger of drowning.

Tragically, sometimes we are not able to get there in time and someone drowns. Usually the person who does not survive is the kind person who went into the water to try and help a person in difficulty.’

They then developed the buoy as an emergency system, with clear graphics and an emergency number so that members of the community can safely assist a person struggling in the ocean.

‘If there is an incident and someone needs help these buoys can be thrown to that person, providing emergency flotation.

There are clear graphics on the sign which explain how to use the Buoy. And most importantly, the emergency number for the closest Sea Rescue station is printed on the sign.

If anyone decides, against advice, to enter the water the Pink Rescue Buoy provides flotation for that person as well as for the casualty.’

The buoys have been a great success and with vigilant community members, only abouy 10% to 18% have gone missing since their implementation. So far, 13 lives have been saved using the pink buoys.

The NSRI got an encouraging email from the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) Awards to let them know their pink buoy had been shortlisted for its innovation. The IMRF use the awards to raise awareness for the excellent work done by those involved in the maritime search and rescue community, including highlighting innovative new sea and rescue products and technologies.

“Congratulations! I am delighted to tell you that the NSRI’s Pink Rescue Buoys have been shortlisted by the panel of judges as a finalist for the Innovation and Technology in Maritime Search and Rescue Award.” – Theresa Crossley, Chief Executive Officer, IMRF

This is a wonderful news for the organisation.

“It’s often the simple things that save lives, in this case the simple act of placing a Pink Rescue Buoy in proximity to a water risk” – Dr Cleeve Robertson, NSRI CEO

Well done to everyone involved. Hopefully this device saves many more lives in the future.

Sources: NSRI / NSRI
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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