Lifeguards to ensure beach safety

2015-10-06 06:00

A dozen lifeguards have been employed permanently and are deployed to the various beaches around the city this school holiday.

The City’s sport, recreation and amenities department is employing permanent and seasonal lifeguards to improve beach safety over the summer holiday season.

In addition to 12 permanent lifeguards and over 100 seasonal lifeguards, 100 beach monitors will be working this week. The team of lifeguards and beach monitors will be on duty at the various beaches between 08:00 and 16:30 daily for the duration of the school holiday.

Thereafter, the team will work on weekends until the peak season, says Belinda Walker, mayoral committee member for community services and special projects.

“Our intention in making the shift towards offering a number of lifeguards an employment contract is two-fold. Firstly, we believe that this structure will mean that we can continue to provide a lifesaving standard of the highest quality, to the utmost of our ability. Secondly, we believe that lifeguards will be provided with better career path opportunities.”

The provision of law enforcement training in the future will improve the ability of lifeguards to access year-round employment, instead of just seasonal employment, she says.

“Many drownings are linked to the consumption of alcohol before swimming or people swimming in dangerous areas not supervised by lifeguards. We urge residents not to allow family members and friends to go into the water if they have consumed alcohol and to report any intoxicated beachgoers to the lifeguard or law enforcement officer on duty.”

Parents need to be on high alert when their children are playing in or near the ocean, a river or a pool, Walker adds. Children can also get lost on crowded beaches and parents are urged to be particularly vigilant.

The following hotspot beaches will be covered by lifeguard services this week: Clifton, Camps Bay, Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Kogel Bay, Strand, Macassar, Monwabisi, Mnandi, Strandfontein and Blue Waters.

During the peak summer season, the lifeguarding service will be boosted by accredited members of lifesaving clubs and the National Sea Rescue Institute.

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