NSRI stalwart honoured in Mandela Month
Founded in 1967, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) volunteers spend their time serving their communities by saving lives on South African waters.
During July, Mandela month, the organisation decided to honour a volunteer who is 67 — as a play on the 67 minutes South Africans are asked to donate to charities on Nelson Mandela’s birthday, July 18.
For Morven Maclean, who joined NSRI Station 6 in Port Elizabeth in 2001, the 4,000 hours he has volunteered the commitment has been a privilege.
“As a keen scuba diver, I have been going to sea for many years and have my own rubber duck which we dive off,” Maclean said.
“I assist with research at sea, I am the safety officer for Sailing PE and sea based water sports including the Noordhoek Ski Boat Club. All this could only lead to me joining the NSRI.”
He is also a rescue Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) diver and dives with his family most weekends.
As part of one of the four crew teams called the Pirates, Maclean crews and is helmsman on Toft, a Breede 10M boat.
One of his roles is preparing all four of the NSRI boats for their annual boat inspections.
“I also sit on the operations committee of Station 6 to help manage the boat repairs and maintenance programmes,” he said.
In almost 20 years with the organisation, Maclean has won several awards including Rookie of the Year, Crewman of the Year, Crew of the Year, and completed courses including firefighting, helicopter training, life raft, maritime extraction, navigation, radar, Level 3 First aid and Pyrotechnics.
“I have also perfected the art of making coffee,” he said jokingly.
The former retailer and sales agent is now a South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) boat surveyor, and says it is the camaraderie of the NSRI, along with the volunteers’ dedication and commitment to helping and saving people in trouble in coastal and inland waters, that keeps him committed.
“NSRI is an amazing organisation and being part of it is a privilege and a pleasure.”
Maclean’s sea research involvement entails the delivery of marine biologists to Bird Island, dolphin and whale study support, EIA studies for protection of wrecks and checking routes for pipelines under the sea, Marine Protected Area coral checks and perlemoen farming support.
In Mandela Month, Maclean said it was the time — especially with the Covid-19 pandemic — “to pull together and support each other as we all know he would have done.
“Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to making SA a country for all to live together in harmony.
“He gave us all the opportunity to live in peace and his care, foresight and willingness to forgive and move on showed us all what a great man he was,” Maclean said.
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