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Beach safety begins with YOU

by | Dec 29, 2015 | News | 0 comments

Cape Town is expecting thousands of residents and visitors to flock to Cape Town’s pristine beaches during the festive period and here are some safety tips to keep in mind. 

Although the City is doing everything in its power to enhance the safety of our residents and visitors, it must be noted that many drownings are linked to the consumption of alcohol before swimming. Residents are urged not to allow family members and friends to go into the water if they have consumed alcohol and to report any intoxicated beachgoers to the lifeguard or law enforcement officer on duty.

The second most common cause of drowning can be attributed to persons swimming in dangerous areas that are not supervised by lifeguards. Beach users must act responsibly and only swim in the designated areas.

‘We need beachgoers to help us to help them, by working together with our teams of lifeguards, beach monitors and law enforcement officers. The plans we have in place to ensure beach safety cannot be implemented by the City alone. An individual’s safety is a shared responsibility between themselves and the City’s safety teams,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Special Projects, Alderman Belinda Walker.

While the City does provide lifeguards and law enforcement staff, this service cannot take the place of a parent or guardian’s supervision of children. The large number of people visiting the City’s range of beaches and pools makes it very difficult for lifeguards to keep a watchful eye on all swimmers all of the time.

This year, the City has beefed up the complement of safety staff with 100 beach monitors, in addition to the many law enforcement personnel who will vigilantly patrol the City’s beaches and assist lifeguards.

The beach monitors will be responsible for helping to prevent irresponsible and dangerous behaviour along the coastline. These monitors will patrol the areas of coastline not covered by lifeguard services to prevent people from swimming in areas where there are no lifeguards present. The presence of these beach monitors is crucial if the City is to effectively prevent incidents of drowning.

‘Our lifeguards are under constant pressure to keep a keen eye out for anyone in distress but parents must also work with us and be on high alert when their children are playing in or near the ocean or a pool. There was an incident at Muizenberg Beach where a little boy had wandered off but a beach monitor on duty noticed him and immediately reported the matter to the lifeguard who then ensured the child was returned safely. Children can easily get lost on crowded beaches and parents are urged to be particularly vigilant during this busy period.

‘The beach monitors are proving to be helpful with positive feedback received from beach managers. They are not only serving as extra eyes and ears, but hands too, by assisting with litter clearing to ensure that our beaches remain pleasant and tidy, particularly during this busy time of the year.

‘I also urge all beachgoers to be extra vigilant when swimming and to be on the look-out for rip currents. The full moon and spring tides over the upcoming festive weekend will cause stronger than normal rip currents along the beaches. The temporary rip currents are the most dangerous due to their unpredictability and the constant change in their position. They form with no warning at different spots along the beaches. Bathers are most at risk and I ask that they exercise extreme caution when swimming,’ said Alderman Walker.

Beachgoers are encouraged to keep the following key safety tips in mind:

• Make sure that lifeguards can see you when you are in the water
• Swim between the red and yellow flags as these indicate safe, supervised swimming areas. An area outside of these flags could have dangerous rip currents and tides
• Only swim in areas where other people are present. Either swim in groups or inform friends or family members when you go swimming
• Do not swim when there are marine animals such as whales, dolphins and seals in the area or when a marine animal carcass has washed up onto the beach
• If you find yourself in trouble, raise your arm and wave to attract the lifeguard’s attention. Try not to panic, as this will make you tired
• If you see someone in trouble in the water, alert the lifeguards or find trained help. Do not put your own life in danger as well

‘If we all work together to ensure the safety of our loved ones, family and friends this summer season, we can help to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives,’ added Alderman Walker.

via Cape Town Green Map



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