04 September 2013

Cape Town: Shark season safety precautions

The annual shark season in and around Cape Town has just started and the City of Cape Town has therefore issued list of advises all beach and ocean users should be aware of:
  • use areas where Shark Spotters are on duty, and take the time to speak to the Shark Spotters on the day you visit the beach
  • read the shark spotting signs to inform yourself of the four-flag warning system and warning siren
  • do not swim, surf or surf-ski when birds, dolphins or seals are feeding nearby
  • do not swim, surf or surf-ski where trek-netting, fishing or spear fishing is taking place
  • do not swim in deep water beyond the breakers
  • do not swim if you are bleeding
  • do not swim near river mouths
  • do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night
  • do not swim, surf or surf-ski if there has been a whale stranding nearby
  • be aware that the rate of encounters with great white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ºC or higher), and during new moon, due to increased opportunities for feeding
  • if a shark has recently been sighted in an area where no Shark Spotters are present, consider using another beach for the day
  • first-time visitors to beach areas should ask the local law enforcement official, lifeguards or locals about the area
  • obey beach officials if told to leave the water
  • those who kayak or surf-ski far out to the sea should consider paddling in groups and staying close together (in a diamond formation)
  • consider using a personal shark shield when you go surfing or kayaking
  • pay attention to any shark signage on beaches
Kayakers and surf-skiiers are specifically asked to be cautious of the area between Sunnycove and Glencairn Beach, and swimmers are urged not to use the water off Jaegers Walk in Fish Hoek unless the exclusion net is deployed, as this is considered a high-risk area. The City has erected warning signs along Jaegers Walk to this effect.
Surfers are asked to be especially vigilant in the areas between Sunrise Beach and the Macassar Beach area during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that shark presence in these waters is common at this time of year. (via capetown.gov.za)

Shark sightings in and around Cape Town typically start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings reported in mid-summer. For more information on the latest shark sightings and research, and to report sightings of white sharks, visit the website of Shark Spotters.

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