Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department, as part of the 2018/19 summer season drowning prevention strategy, will deploy lifeguards to beaches and swimming pools across the City this upcoming school holiday.
In addition to the deployment of the standard lifeguards, the City will also appoint 13 squad leaders who will be responsible for upholding a good quality of service that beach-goers experience. They will also be required to give supervision and guidance to the lifeguards on duty at each respective beach.
In order to improve the efficiency of lifeguard deployment, a new approach has been implemented to deliver this vital service to local residents and tourists.
Comprehensive and collaborative service lifeguard deployment
This year, the Recreation and Parks Department is focussing on strengthening relationships with existing partners, which include the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Western Province Surf Lifesaving, Lifesaving South Africa and other lifesaving clubs in Cape Town to ensure that a comprehensive and collaborative service is provided.
‘We have created platforms to engage with these institutions and clubs, both individually and as a collective, so as to create synergies through a coordinated approach to lifesaving. The goal is to increase water safety and reduce the drowning rate on our beaches and at our swimming pools,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
An important aspect of drowning prevention is alerting beach-goers to the inherent dangers of swimming in the sea, swimming pools and bodies of water. A water safety programme has been introduced at schools along the coast, particularly those along the high-risk False Bay coastline, to increase awareness about rip currents and swimming in designated bathing areas, as well as to provide other important information that may decrease potential risks when swimming.
The start of the September/October school holiday marks the beginning of the summer season. In order to limit the number of water safety incidents, bathers are reminded to swim only at beaches where lifeguards are on duty.
‘Holidays bring joy, relaxation, and fun. However, safety is often neglected and can lead to unfortunate situations. Swimmers often put themselves at risk of injury or death by ignoring warnings, not knowing how to swim, or using a beach in the absence of a lifeguard. The public needs to be educated on the risks and hazards of the open water,’ said Alderman Smith.
Lifeguard deployment locations
Lifeguards will be on duty from 10:00 until 18:00 every day of the school holidays at the following beaches: Big Bay; Blue Waters; Camps Bay; Clifton; Danger Beach; Fish Hoek; Gordon’s Bay; Harmony Park; Hout Bay; Kogel Bay; Llandudno; Macassar; Melkbosstrand; Milnerton; Mnandi; Monwabisi; Muizenberg; Silwerstroom; Strand; Strandfontein; Sunrise Beach.
During the December school holidays this service will be extended to include more beaches.
In spite of the drought, the City is planning on opening at least 17 swimming pools throughout the city. Alternative water sources will be used to ensure that the water levels are kept at an operationally suitable level. The following pools will be open from 1 December 2018: Atlantis; Kensington; Khayelitsha; Bellville South; Bonteheuwel; Vulindlela; Mannenberg; Hanover Park; Goodwood; Eastridge; Mnandi; Muizenberg.
The four indoor pools, namely Strand, Long Street, Retreat and Blue Downs, as well as the Sea Point pool, will remain open throughout the year.