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From tragedy to training

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A rescue craft donated to the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) by a family who lost their son, along with two other teenagers at sea, will now be used to provide high school students with valuable motor boat handling skills and an official qualification, while they’re still at school.

The 4.7m Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) – donated by the NSRI to the Lawhill Maritime Educational Trust (LMET) – was recently named ‘Sean Day’ in honour of the significant contribution South African born USA-based Mr Day, Chairman Emeritus of the Teekay Corporation, has made to high-school based maritime education in South Africa.

Mr Day’s godson, Sebastian Hamsher, unveiled the name and blessed the boat while Mr Day, his wife Ginny and two of his daughters, attended the naming ceremony via Zoom.

The NSRI-donated RIB is the second vessel to be named after this highly-respected, international maritime leader.  In 2019, a large LNG carrier was named ‘Sean Spirit’ in Korea.

The ‘Sean Day’– which will be based at False Bay Yacht Club in Simon’s Town – will be used to enhance the skills of maritime students who have, for the past few years, benefitted from a Personal Survival Training course provided by the NSRI, in association with the S.A.T.S General Botha Old Boys’ Bursary Fund. 

The long term aim of this practical skills development programme is to equip students with maritime skills at an early age and, in so doing, open the way for them to progress into a formal sea-going career. 

Acquiring small boat handling skills and a skipper’s ticket, while at school, also potentially increases the students’ post-school employment prospects, particularly in the marine tourism and related sectors.

Mentors linked to the S.A.T.S. General Botha Old Boys’ Association Bursary Fund are the driving force behind the programme, which is also supported by the NSRI, the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the SA Maritime Training Academy (SAMTRA), African Marine Solutions (AMSOL) and Grindrod, amongst others.

Here is a link to a video of the ‘Sean Day’ boat naming ceremony event: https://youtu.be/sDa_JoM3CzY 

More about Mr Sean Day

Originally from Knysna and educated in Cape Town, Sean Day attended the General Botha at Granger Bay after matric.  At age 17, Mr Day went to sea as a cadet and later embarked on a distinguished international maritime career that led him to become Chairman Emeritus of the Vancouver-based, Teekay Corporation.  He has long been a proponent of maritime education at school and tertiary level and, through the TK Foundation, has supported numerous maritime programmes that give underserved youth an opportunity to succeed in the maritime field.

It was the TK Foundation that funded the construction of the STS Lawhill Maritime Centre  (www.lawhill.org) building in 2009 and paid for the extensions seven years later. But even in his private capacity, Day has put his heart and finances into maritime education and currently supports three maritime bursary students.

A memorable moment as the crew, made up of five Grade 12 maritime students, launch the school’s newest training craft, the Sean Day, as Sebastian Hamsher, Sean Day’s godson (who named the vessel) looks on. 

A memorable moment as the crew, made up of five Grade 12 maritime students, launch the school’s newest training craft, the Sean Day, as Sebastian Hamsher, Sean Day’s godson (who named the vessel) looks on. 

Five of the Grade 12 crew members of the Sean Day – a 4.7m RIB donated to the LMET by the NSRI: Garth Drude, Jody Muleshi, Busang Tsukulu, Janoel Meyer and Sifundo Sithole.

Meet the Sean Day crew and bursary students: Enkosi Ntame, Busang Tsukulu, Janoel Meyer, Jody Muleshi, Sisonke del Fava, Sifundo Sithole, Garth Drude and Luyanda Dlamini.

The crew eagerly wait to launch the Sean Day: Garth Drude, Jody Muleshi, Busang Tsukulu, Janoel Meyer and Sifundo Sithole.

The crew in action

The Sean Day on the slipway outside the NSRI Station 10 in Simon’s Town.

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