NSRI Plettenberg Bay station commander Marc Rodgers and coxswain Robbie Gibson attended the International Maritime Rescue Federation Awards in London. Photo: Supplied
Cape Town – Two National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Plettenberg Bay volunteers have won international acclaim for designing a rescue stretcher that can be used as comfortably over rocky terrain as it can through the surf to extricate an immobilised patient.

The NSRI Plettenberg Bay station commander, Marc Rodgers, and NSRI Plettenberg Bay coxswain Robbie Gibson were the runners-up in the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) Awards 2019 held in London on Tuesday.

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon said the organisation was delighted to announce that Rodgers and Gibson were awarded second place in the IMRF Innovation and Technology Awards for their purpose-designed rescue stretcher.

“Congratulations Marc and Robbie on your purpose-designed rescue stretcher, designed for coastline rock and surf patient extrication, and for being recognised by the IMRF in this prestigious awards ceremony,” said Lambinon.

The NSRI Sea Rescue won the same category in 2018 for its Pink Rescue Buoys and was runner-up in the Team category for its NSRI Water Safety Education Programme.

The rescue stretcher’s innovative design allows it to be used comfortably in any terrain, he added.

Last month the NSRI congratulated Rodgers and Gibson for being nominated as finalists.

“Patient extrication by sea on a rocky stretch of coast that has substantial wave action is a specialist task that needs specialist training and equipment.

“The rescue vessels of choice in this area are rigid inflatable boats and jet skis. With this in mind, the Plettenberg Bay volunteers have pioneered a new design of floating stretcher that could be used over rocks and through surf to extricate a patient who has been immobilised,” the NSRI said in a statement.

The stretcher was used operationally for the first time in April this year and has a number of unique features that could be used by other rescue services worldwide.

Some of the stretcher’s many advantages, according to Lambinon, include that it is a stable platform on which a casualty can be carried over rough terrain on narrow paths with ease.

It has a storage compartment for medical equipment, and a hull made of fibreglass with nylon skids protecting the underside when sliding over rocks, and it will not capsize easily in surf.

It is light-weight, very strong and has a shoulder strap designed to help stretcher-bearers take the weight of a patient.

Cape Times