01 September 2015

Cape Town: Spring and Summer Months = Shark Time!

The City of Cape Town has issued a warning to all beach and ocean users to be wary of an increased in-shore shark activity over the spring and summer months. Typically, shark sightings start in late August, and continue through to April, with most sightings being reported in mid-summer.
  • White sharks are present in Cape Town waters all year around
  • Surfers are asked to be especially vigilant in the stretch between Sunrise and Macassar Beaches during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that the shark presence in these waters increases at this time of year.
  • The Shark Spotters Information Centre at Muizenberg Surfer's Corner is open to the public from 08:00 to 18:00 seven days a week.
  • The Shark Spotters Information Centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and emergencies, storage of valuables and lost property.
  • The Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will again be deployed for the annual Fish Hoek Spring Splash on 6 September 2015.
  • The Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will be in full operation during the 2015/2016 summer season.
  • On days that the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net is deployed, the operating hours will be from 09:00 to 17:00 and may occasionally be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events.
  • The Shark Spotters will keep beach users informed about the deployment of the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net via Twitter and Facebook, and signage is displayed when the net is deployed.
  • Members of the public are encouraged to report any sightings of white sharks to the Shark Spotters
Card

The City urges members of the public to familiarise themselves with the following general shark safety tips:
  • Use beaches where Shark Spotters are on duty
  • Take the time to speak to the Shark Spotters on the day you visit the beach
  • Use the Shark Spotters signs to familiarise yourself with 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
  • Obey beach officials, lifeguards and Shark Spotters if told to leave the water
  • Be aware that the rate of encounters with white sharks rises significantly when the water temperature is warmer (18ยบC 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
  • For those people kayaking or surf-skiing far out to the sea: please 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
Shark Spotters were present at the following beaches:
  • Muizenberg corner
    Summer (October-April) > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
  • St James/Kalk Bay
    Summer (October-April) > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
  • Fish Hoek
    Summer (October-April) > Mon - Sun: 07:00 - 18:45
    Winter > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
  • Caves, Kogel Bay
    Summer (October-April) > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 17:00
  • Noordhoek (The Hoek)
    Summer (October-April) >Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > N/A
  • Clovelly
    Summer (October-April) > Weekends, public holidays & school holidays, 10:00 - 17:00
    Winter > N/A
  • Glencairn
    Summer (October-April) > Weekends, public holidays & school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > N/A
  • Monwabisi
    Summer (October-April) > Weekends, public holidays & school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
    Winter > N/A
The  Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will be in operation during the 2015/2016 summer season according to the following schedule:
  • October 2015 > School holidays and weekends
  • November 2015 - March 2016 > The net will operate on a daily basis, depending on the weather. Weekends, public holidays and school holidays will be prioritised.
  • April 2016 > School holidays, public holidays and weekends
The  Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will not be deployed if weather conditions (wind and swell) are deemed to be unsuitable; this will be assessed on a daily basis. If weather conditions deteriorate over the course of a day when the net is already deployed, the net may be removed as a precautionary measure. Additionally, if there is a high presence of whales or other marine mammals in the area, the Fish Hoek shark exclusion net will not be deployed. 

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