Mayor Urges Residents and Visitors to Enjoy Beaches Responsibly Over Festive Season | Western Cape Government


Mayor Urges Residents and Visitors to Enjoy Beaches Responsibly Over Festive Season

21 December 2010

The City of Cape Town services seventy-two (72) beaches along Cape Town's three hundred and seven kilometres (307 km) coastline, from Silwerstroom Beach near Atlantis, to Kogel Bay near Gordon's Bay.

During the last festive season, in December 2009 and January 2010, beach attendance reached a peak of between thirteen thousand (13 000) and sixteen thousand (16 000) people daily. The City is expecting similar numbers this year.

"Unfortunately the festive season this year has had a tragic start with the drowning of four (4) people - three in Cape Town and one in the Overberg. My sincerest condolences go out to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased.

"Tragedies like these remind us that we need to be careful and vigilant at all times - even when the situation may seem safe. Too many lives are lost to the sea, rivers, dams and swimming pools each year, and if we all work together we can reduce this number.

"I appeal to parents especially to be on high alert when their children are playing near or in the surf, a river or a pool - accidents can happen in a split second. Let's all try and look out for each other this festive season," said the City's Executive Mayor, Alderman Dan Plato.

With the festive season in full swing, the City would like to urge Capetonians and visitors to enjoy its beautiful beaches responsibly. Everyone must please familiarise themselves with the safety warning systems in place and heed instructions given by the lifeguards on duty.

The public are reminded that it is illegal to consume alcohol on the city's beaches. The City will be clamping down on public drinking, especially over the Christmas and New Year weekends, to ensure the safety of all beach users.

Beachgoers must only swim within designated areas which are indicated by yellow and red flags positioned by the lifeguards on duty.

The City, in partnership with Lifesaving Western Province (LWP), has deployed one hundred and twenty (120) additional surf lifeguards to City beaches and swimming pools across Cape Town to ensure the safety of bathers.

The partnership adds about forty thousand (40 000) hours of lifeguarding services to the beaches every month, while also improving the City's Blue Flag applications. During the festive season, it means that two hundred and fifty (250) trained and accredited lifeguards will be deployed to render life-saving services at all beaches between 10:00 and 18:00 daily from 01 December 2010 to mid-January 2011 when the schools re-open.

These lifeguards will serve in addition to private lifesaving clubs on some beaches and LWP's volunteer services. The National Search and Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Medic helicopter will also be on call in the area.

The City has invested in new life-saving equipment, including additional rubber ducks, life-saving boats, torpedo buoys and jet-skis. This equipment will all be available on the beach when lifeguards are on duty.

General safety tips

  • Swim in groups and advise friends/family when you go swimming.
  • Ensure that you are visible to other people when swimming.
  • Do not swim when there are marine mammals (such as whales, dolphins and seals) in the area.
  • Do not swim when a marine mammal or carcass has washed up onto the beach.
  • Do not swim when there is a stranded marine mammal in the area.
  • Keep a close eye on children. Too many children get lost on crowded beaches and parents are urged to be vigilant.

Shark Spotters
The Shark Spotting Programme seeks to ensure the safety of beach users by monitoring the presence of sharks and informing swimmers accordingly. Over the last few years, Cape Town has experienced an increased concentration of Great White Sharks in its in-shore areas, thus making the Shark Spotting Programme a crucial safety element.

Beachgoers must familiarise themselves with the shark-spotting system, which uses flags to indicate whether there is a shark risk. Shark Spotter flags indicate the following:

  • Green flag: a shark spotter is on duty and visibility is good. There are no sharks in the area.
  • Red flag: a shark has been spotted in the area in the last two hours.
  • Black flag: a Shark Spotter is on duty but visibility is poor.
  • White flag with picture of black shark: there is a shark in the area. A siren is simultaneously sounded to clear the beach. Swimmers must stay out of the water until the flag is lowered.

Issued by:
Communication Department
City of Cape Town

Media Enquiries: 

Alderman Dan Plato
Executive Mayor
City of Cape Town
Cell: 076 832 5505

Councillor Brett Herron
Mayoral Committee Member
Community Services
Tel: 021 400 1298
Cell: 082 518 3264

Gert Bam
Sport, Recreation and Amenities
City of Cape Town
Tel: 021 400 5090
Cell: 084 222 1242