Museum of NSRI Station 12 Knysna, home of the historic rescue craft Alex Blaikie
The story of Knysna is the story of the sea - and the sea’s a dangerous place. But it’s a little less dangerous thanks to the volunteers who run the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Knysna Station 12.
Established in 1969, NSRI Station 12 Knysna is a service organisation of note in the town. It serves the area from Gericke's Point to the west of Sedgefield, to Harkerville between Knysna and Plettenberg bay. And it’s been involved in too many rescues to mention - helping everyone from ships and pleasure craft in trouble at sea and in the Knysna estuary, to a horse stuck on an island in a raging river (no, really!), to people and animals in Brenton and Belvidere who were cut off from road access during the devastating wildfires of June, 2017 (they evacuated them by boat across the Lagoon).
But the crews also have a lot of fun doing what they do: you’ll see them out at all the big events, like when the South African Navy’s ships come to visit during our annual Oyster Festival - they’re there escorting the big guys in through The Heads.
Local knowledge rocks!
Being a volunteer organisation, the NSRI Station 12 relies solely on the generosity of individuals and corporates for funding.
Information about donating: Support the NSRI
Station 12 currently operates three rescue craft and one rescue vehicle:
- Jaytee IV - Rescue 12A - a 6.5m RIB built by Gemini Marine, Cape Town, and sponsored by the John Tanner Trust. Powered by 2 x 100 HP Yamaha outboards, she has a coastal range of 15 nautical miles. Operational crew of 3;
- Colorpress Rescuer - Rescue 12 - an 8.5m RIB built by Gemini Marine, Cape Town, and sponsored by Ryan Lotter. Powered by 2 x 225 HP Yamaha outboards, she has a coastal range of 40 NM. Operational crew of 4;
- Jolen - Rescue 12B – 4.2m inflatable by Gemini Marine, Cape Town, and sponsored by the Starfield Family. Powered by a 50HP Yamaha outboard, she has a coastal range of 5 NM. Operational crew of 2
- The station’s Mitsubitshi Triton 2.2D 4×4 rescue vehicle was sponsored by Lotto.
The 8-metre, wooden rescue craft Alex Blaikie was built in 1976 at Thesen’s Boatyard in Knysna. She served for 32 years until she was retired in 2008, and put on permanent display in Thesen Harbour Town - just metres away from where she was built.
When Thesen Harbour Town was developed, the old Thesens Boatyard building was repurposed as The Boatshed, which now houses The Lofts Boutique Hotel)
For more stories of Knysna’s maritime history, please visit the Maritime collection in the Old Gaol at the Knysna Museum.
Find the NSRI Museum
- The NSRI’s Alex Blaikie Museum, Long Street, Knysna.
- Latitude, longitude -34.048838, 23.047295
- From Knysna Central: drive southwards on Long Street towards the lagoon. You’ll find the NSRI Museum at the traffic circle at the end of the road.
NSRI Museum hours
- Open every day; entrance is free, and the museum is easily accessible for wheelchairs.
NSRI Museum contact
- NSRI Knysna: Station 12 nsri.org.za
- Station Commander: Jerome Simonis +27(0)82 560 2611
- Deputy Station Commander: Declan Nurse +27(0)82 308 9406
- Deputy Station Commander: Marc van Staden +27(0)83 391 5346
- Facebook: nsri.knysna
NSRI Emergencies Knysna
- Emergencies only: 082 990 5956 (please don't use this number for museum enquiries!)
Visit South Africa's NSRI online: NSRI