Beaches get safety boost over week­end

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER

WESTERN Cape au­thor­i­ties have pulled out all the stops to make pop­u­lar beaches in the prov­ince safe this week­end.

Lifesaving South Africa has sta­tioned 700 qual­i­fied life­guards at var­i­ous beaches.

The prov­ince’s di­rec­tor of dis­as­ter man­age­ment, Colin Diener, said the city had also in­tro­duced many new in­ter­ven­tions, in­clud­ing first-aid rooms at beaches and swim­ming pools, and ex­tended work­ing hours for life­guards on high-risk days.

The city’s may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber for com­mu­nity ser­vices, coun­cil­lor Tan­deka Gqada, said the city had in­vested in new lifesaving equip­ment, such as rub­ber ducks, life-sav­ing boats, and jet-skis. She said 21 shark spot­ters would be de­ployed at Glen­cairn, Clovelly, Muizen­berg Cor­ner, Fish Hoek, St James, Kalk Bay and No­ord­hoek.

Over­berg Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment’s Reinard Geldenhuys said they had 10 life­guards, on a three­man shift, work­ing on beaches in Ar­niston and Kassies­baai. A rub­ber duck with ex­tra res­cue ser­vices would be avail­able, while in Stru­is­baai, three life­guards, one NSRI beach pa­trol and a res­cue helicopter would be on duty.

The National Sea Res­cue In­sti­tute (NSRI) has 32 coastal and three in­land bases, a fleet of 92 res­cue craft, 27 ve­hi­cles and ac­cess to a range of he­li­copters.

Pres­i­dent of Lifesaving South Africa Dy­lan Tommy iden­ti­fied Mon­wabisi and Koggel­bay as po­ten­tial drown­ing hot spots

“These beaches are no­to­ri­ous for drown­ing in­ci­dents, due to strong rip cur­rents,” Tommy said. He urged peo­ple to swim only at beaches where there were life­guards on duty, and to avoid swim­ming at night.

Diener said peo­ple must be care­ful at most of the beaches on the Gar­den Route that were sit­u­ated near river mouths where there were rip cur­rents.

Ex­perts ad­vise that if you’re caught in a cur­rent, you don’t try to swim against it. In­stead, let the cur­rent take you out to sea where it will weaken. Swim par­al­lel to the beach and out of the cur­rent.

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