Beaches get safety boost over weekend
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.