Seaside Safety Tips | Western Cape Government

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Seaside Safety Tips

10 December 2012

It is the festive season, a time when holidaymakers will make their way to the beach. While this may be an opportunity to relax and have fun, be alert and avoid accidents.

Here are some helpful safety tips to keep your family safe at the seaside and other swimming facilities.

Beach Safety Measures:

  • Swim only where there are lifeguards on duty and where signs indicate that it is safe to swim.
  • Make sure that lifeguards can see you when you are in the water.
  • Don't swim when lifeguards are off duty.
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags. These indicate safe and supervised swimming areas. Areas outside these flags might conceal dangerous currents and tides. Only swim in areas where other people are present.
  • If you find yourself in trouble, raise your arm to attract the lifeguards' attention; do not panic.
  • If you see someone in trouble in the sea, alert the lifesavers or find help. Don't put your own life in danger as well.
  • Don't drink and swim or drive motor boats. Alcohol dulls the senses, slows the reactions and can cause irresponsible behaviour.
  • Know how to do CPR or how to blow air into another person's lungs until help arrives.
  • Don't dive from tidal pool walls, as this has been known to result in spinal injuries.
  • Do not take out small or unstable boats far from shore in choppy water or stormy weather.
  • Any emergency and/or distress call regarding drowning can be reported to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line. Cell phone users need to dial 021 480 7700.
  • Ensure that you protect your skin from too much exposure to the sun. Too much sun can cause sunstroke. Stay indoors during the hottest time of the day (11:00 to 15:00), and make use of sunscreen, hats and other attire.

Swimming Pool and Diving Area Safety Measures:

  • Any children under the age of seven must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Always obey the superintendent's instructions.
  • Do not swim under or near the diving boards.
  • Only one person should be on a diving board at any given time.
  • Do not jump or dive to the side of the diving board.

Shark Safety Tips:

  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby.
  • Do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers.
  • Do not swim if you are bleeding.
  • Do not swim near river mouths.
  • Do not swim, surf or surf-ski near areas where trek-netting, fishing or spear fishing is taking place.
  • If a shark has recently been sighted in an area where no shark spotters are present, consider using another beach for the day.
  • First-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement officials, life guards or locals about the area.
  • Obey beach officials at all times.
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to sea, consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation).
  • Consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking.
  • Pay attention to any shark signage on beaches.

View the shark flag warning system.

Important Contact Numbers:

Shark Spotters
Tel: 078 174 4244

Cape Town Emergency
Call 107 (From a landline)
Tel: 021 480 7700 (From a cellphone)

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI)
Tel: 021 449 3500

Source: City of Cape Town