Remember that accidents can happen at any time when you have the chance to unwind and enjoy yourself at the beach. To keep your family safe at the beach, take a look at these practical safety suggestions.

Beach Safety

Beach safety

  • Swim only in areas with lifeguards on duty and where signs declare it is safe to do so.
  • When you’re in the water, make sure the lifeguards can see you.
  • Swim between the red and yellow flags at the beach at all times. These denote locations for supervised swimming. Locations outside of these flags may contain hazardous tides and currents. Swim only in areas where there are other people around.
  • Surfers and bodyboarders shouldn’t go bodyboarding or surfing in places where game fish and bait are active, there are seals nearby, or seabirds are diving.
  • Don’t panic if you find yourself in jeopardy; simply raise your arm to get the lifeguards’ attention.
  • Inform the lifeguards or seek assistance if you notice someone in need in the water. Don’t endanger your own life as well.
  • Avoid operating a motorboat or swimming when intoxicated. It dulls the senses and makes reflexes more gradual. Recall that drinking is prohibited on beaches in the Western Cape. If you are caught drinking, you will be fined and have your alcohol taken away.
  • Until aid arrives, be able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Avoid diving from tidal pool walls because it has been linked to spinal damage. Only swim when the tide is low and there are no breaking waves on the walls. As the currents are controlled, swimming in pools is safer than in open waters.
  • In rough water or during a storm, stay away from the shore when operating tiny or unstable boats.
  • Make cautious to shield your skin from excessive sun exposure. Sunstroke or heat stroke can be brought on by too much sun. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated; avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • When it’s hot outside, stay indoors. If you must go outside, wear protective clothing such as caps and sunscreen.

Leave the beach better than how you found it

We are fortunate to live near the Western Cape seashore. We should all work together to preserve our beaches pristine and free of trash since litter, particularly glass and plastic, poses a danger to both people and marine life. Always try to leave things better than you found them; if you see something, pick it up.

RIP Currents beach safety

Rip currents and beach safety

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) asserts that rips can appear everywhere there are breaking waves. Water draining from the beach and flowing back out to sea is what creates the “rivers” of current. Rip currents do not have an “undertow” and cannot drag you underwater. The NSRI offers the following advice:

How to spot a rip current

Strong rip currents exhibit the following symptoms, however, they’re not usually obvious:

  • Water that flows through a surf zone has a distinct colour from the water outside of it.
  • A pause in the wave pattern coming in.
  • Moving seaweed or other debris across the surf zone
  • Isolated areas of choppy, agitated water in the surf zone.

What to do when caught in a rip current

The most important thing to do if you’re in a rip current is to calm down and unwind.

Swim cautiously and carefully parallel to the coast, or let it take you till it slacks and out past the breakers. Unless you can get out of the current and return to the beach, you’ll be okay if you can float or tread water. Returning in should be done at an angle to the coast. Once more, keep moving slowly and comfortably until you reach the shore or help shows up. Always be sure there are lifeguards on duty when you are swimming. Keep your composure and extend your arm to get the lifeguards’ attention.

Reporting emergencies

Make sure you keep emergency numbers memorised or saved for urgent assistance.

Call 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone. You can also dial 112 from any cellphone, irrespective of your network. Dial 10111 for ambulance services.

NSRI Emergency Operation Centre: 087 094 9774

NSRI bases Western Cape:

082 990 5952 Agulhas

082 990 5980 Air Sea Rescue Unit

082 990 5962 Bakoven

072 448 8482 Gordon’s Bay

082 990 5967 Hermanus

082 990 5964 Hout Bay

082 990 5979 Kommetjie

082 990 5956 Knysna

060 960 3027 Lamberts Bay

082 990 5958 Melkbosstrand

082 990 5954 Mossel Bay

082 990 5966 Mykonos

082 990 5975 Plettenberg Bay

082 990 5965 Simon’s Town

082 990 5978 Still Bay

082 990 6753 Strandfontein

082 990 5963 Table Bay

072 446 6344 Theewaterskloof Dam

082 990 5955 Wilderness

082 990 5957 Witsand

082 990 5974 Yzerfontein