NSRI issues urgent warning of Christmas full moon Spring Tide after drownings

Cape Town - The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has once again urged the bathers and anglers around the coast to exercise extreme caution. 

ALSO READ: Hot Christmas expected across SA

This comes after a fatal drowning at Diaz beach in Mossel Bay, where a father and a son was swept out to sea by rip-currents.

The NSRI issued a statement saying lifeguards were able to bring the 49-year-old Cape Town man and his 15-year-old son to shore where paramedics commenced CPR on the father. The son was not injured.

Sadly, despite extensive CPR efforts the man was declared deceased by paramedics.

News24 also reported of two drownings in Durban on Monday. The KwaZulu-Natal mother of one of the boys, Cindy Gumede, said she is left distraught after her son Nhlakanipho Zulu, aged 6, and nephew Oluhle Vilakazi, aged 4, drowned after swimming in Malende, Groutville, north of Durban.

Rip currents are the greatest cause of drowning accidents around the South African coastline, NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon says.

"Rip currents are a river of water flowing out to sea against the incoming waves and are caused when the waves reach the shoreline. They allow water to be dispersed back into the ocean,” he says.

While rip currents are always present and dangerous, the Spring Tide creates stronger than normal rip currents and hence the danger is increased.

The full moon Spring Tide will peak on Christmas Day and the high tide will gradually get higher each day and low tide will gradually get lower each day, building up to a peak on Christmas Day. These higher than normal high tides and the lower than normal low tides will last for at least the next ten days, the NSRI warned.

SEE: Summer safety: NSRI warns of rip currents and spring tides

The phases of the moon, which predict the Spring Tide, will be as follows:

Bathers and anglers are urged to swim only on designated beaches with lifeguards.

READ: Cape Town tops for SA's Blue Flag beaches

The NSRI has also made a special request urging beach goers not to drink and swim.


If you get caught in a rip current, do not panic. Simply stay afloat by treading water (moving your arms and legs in circular movements), don’t try to swim against the current as it will only cause you exhaustion. Rather allow the current sweep you out to sea, but at your first opportunity, swim parallel to the beach front until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore.

While this is happening scream for help and wave your arm to alert people on the beach to raise the alarm.

The following numbers can be contacted along the various coastal areas of SA:
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