14 November 2017

Cape Town: Spring and Summer Months = Shark Time!

The annual shark season in and around Cape Town has started and the City of Cape Town has therefore issued list of advises all beach and ocean users should be aware of. General shark safety tips include:
  • 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 – the green flag indicates that spotting conditions are good; the red flag indicates that there is a high risk of in-shore shark activity; the black flag means spotting conditions are poor; and the white flag with the black shark indicates a shark has been spotted (a siren will sound and all should leave the water immediately)
  • 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 (18ÂșC 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

Cape Town, beach, South Africa

Surfers must be especially vigilant in the areas between Sunrise Beach and the Macassar Beach during the spring and summer months, as research has shown that shark presence in these waters is extremely common at this time of year.

The Shark Spotters information centre at Muizenberg Surfers Corner
in Muizenberg is open to the public from 08:00 until 18:00 seven days a week. The centre provides up-to-date information on sharks and marine ecology, basic first-aid, general public assistance and help with emergencies, and storage of valuables and lost property.

Shark spotters are present at the following beaches: 

  • Muizenberg Surfers Corner (Muizenberg)
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April)
  • St James/Kalk Bay
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April)
  • Fish Hoek
    Monday - Sunday, 07:00 - 18:45 (October to April)
  • Caves, Kogel Bay
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to April
  • Noordhoek (The Hoek)
    Monday - Sunday, 08:00 - 18:00 (October to May)
  • Clovelly  
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
  • Glencairn
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
  • Monwabisi
    Weekends, public holidays and school holidays, 08:00 - 18:00
The Fish Hoek exclusion net has proven to be an effective shark safety measure by creating a physical barrier preventing any sharks from entering the bathing area. The exclusion net is in operation during the summer season as follows:
  • October 2017
    weekends, public holidays and school holidays (09:00 and 17:00)
  • November 2017 to March 2018
    The net will operate on a daily basis, depending on the weather. Weekends, public holidays and school holidays will be prioritised. (09:00 and 17:00)
  • April 2018
    School holidays, public holidays and weekends (09:00 and 17:00)
The operating hours may be extended to allow for lifesaving training or events. The Shark spotters will inform beach goers as and when the net is deployed via Twitter, Facebook, and the Shark Spotter mobile application.

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