Signs to show safe swimming

2016-03-15 06:00

Signs to promote swimming safety at beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard are set to be installed this month.

The warning signs, which are being installed in partnership with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), will show where there are rip currents, says ward councillor Jacques Weber.

“Other signs will warn swimmers where it is safe to swim and where it is not recommended to swim. The signs will also have all the emergency contact details for the City of Cape Town and NSRI,” he says.

Rip currentsThe rip currents flow from the beach to just behind where the waves form in a current the width of a river, and are “without a doubt the biggest danger that bathers face”, says the NSRI’s Andrew Ingram.

“Our number one rule is for people to choose a beach where lifesavers are on duty and swim between their flags. If there are no lifesavers, do not swim. Just over 40% of NSRI responses over the December and January holiday season were to people in difficulty in rip currents,” he says.

Over the past festive season, the NSRI recorded 22 drownings. Six of these happened in rip currents.

The partnership with the City is one of the ways the NSRI is promoting water safety, Ingram says.

“Weber was on Camps Bay beach shortly after a child drowned and has been working with the NSRI and City officials in having new signs made to warn bathers of specific dangers at the beaches in his ward,” he says.

“City officials have been working with us to do the same on other beaches that have dangers. For example, we are putting signs up in the Kommetjie area that are numbered, giving people the emergency telephone numbers to call for the NSRI. Often people do not know what number to use – or exactly where they can see someone in trouble – and with our partnership with the City we hope to fix this, resulting in being able to get an NSRI boat to an incident as fast as we can.”

Camps Bay to CliftonThe signs will initially be put up from Camps Bay beach to the Clifton beaches, Weber says, with the next set of signs “installed within the Sea Point area in the coming months”.

“The NSRI has been involved from the beginning of the talks around the signage and have walked the various beaches with myself and our officials to highlight the problematic spots,” he says.

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