You may think of it as just a silly prank, but the theft of rescue buoys from beaches could end up costing lives.
This is the message from the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Station 37 at Jeffreys Bay, which has had four of its pink flotation buoys removed from their lifesaving positions on the town’s beaches.
Since the implementation of the NSRI’s innovative Pink Rescue Buoy initiative at beaches around the country about a year ago, a total of 16 lives have already been saved by the brightly coloured devices.
Purposefully coloured in bright luminous pink to give them the best visibility in surf conditions, the buoys have been strategically positioned at unprotected and protected beaches to give the public access to the aids when needed.
Station 37, which has made a strong appeal to the public to take ownership of the equipment, lost the first of its new buoys in early January when three brazen young men made off with the device, along with the pole it was mounted on and an information board at the popular Point beach.
The NSRI has made a public appeal for assistance in tracking down the three young men believed to have been responsible for removing one of its Pink Rescue Flotation Buoys from a Jeffreys Bay beach.
The three were, however, caught red-handed on CCTV footage and, following extensive efforts, were traced and the buoy was later recovered.
But history repeated itself on Wednesday when four young teenagers, including a girl, were again caught on camera after having removed a buoy from the same beach at about 9.45pm.
By Friday, after a speedy follow-up by the NSRI, the buoy had been recovered.