City Law Enforcement Officers remain on high alert for the remainder of the summer season – with a particular focus on ensuring the safety of residents and visitors at beaches and public swimming pools. All beach-goers and bathers are urged to follow the regulations and safety guidelines governing beach and pool usage. Regulations specific to beaches are displayed prominently on signage, on main access-ways.
Lifeguards are patrolling the beaches and are on duty at all 36 of the City’s public swimming pools. It is vital that everyone adheres to their instructions, asks their advice and takes responsibility for their own safety by familiarising themselves with the following laws and guidelines:
- Alcohol is not permitted on City beaches or at public swimming pools.
- Read and obey the beach regulations and follow instructions or advice from lifeguards.
- Report hazardous conditions or incidents to lifeguards or other beach personnel.
- Do not enter the sea if you cannot swim.
- Only swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard – usually a zone between two red and yellow flags.
- Never swim alone.
- Swim parallel to the shore if you wish to swim a long distance.
- Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present. A personal floatation device is recommended for children.
- If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until free, and do not swim against the pull of the current.
- Don’t dive into unfamiliar waters – what may seem deep could be very shallow.
- Avoid swimming near rocks, piers, jetties, groynes and breakwaters.
- If you are in trouble in the sea, shout or wave to signify that you need help.
- Only scuba dive if you are trained and certified to do so.
- Do not take drinking glasses, glass bottles or glass containers to the beach as they can inflict deep cuts to bare feet.
- Wear foot protection on unclean, rocky or hot sand beaches.
- Do not light fires on the beach, except in designated areas.
- Stay clear of coastal dune cliffs as they can collapse suddenly.
- Protect your skin from over-exposure to UVA and UVB rays by wearing waterproof sunscreen with a high protection factor of 20+. Avoid the sun between the hottest times of the day, usually 11:00 to 15:00.
- Wear eye protection – good quality sunglasses protect against UV rays.
- Drink plenty of water regularly to avoid dehydration even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool and replace salts lost through sweating.
- Watch out for signs of heat stroke, which is life-threatening including: hot, red and dry skin, rapid and weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing. Move to a cooler place, cool the body down and seek medical assistance.
“ One of the most frightening things is being caught in a rip tide,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada. “Try not to panic or to fight the rip. Rather float on your back and go with the current. Wave your arms in the air for assistance from lifeguards. Strong swimmers should swim parallel to the beach towards breaking waves, which will help to eventually bring you to shore.”
The regulations and safety guidelines are in place to help prevent loss of life, and make the beaches and public swimming pools a safe place for all to enjoy appropriately. An example of an unfortunate contravention of rules this season took place at Clifton First Beach when a two year-old child with her aunt, was bitten by a Rottweiler that was being walked by its owner, at a time when it is unlawful to do so. The child sustained injuries to her left calf and was taken by an ambulance to the Cape Town Medi-Clinic.
The signage on Clifton First Beach (which is present at all formal access-ways to the beach) states that no dogs are allowed on the beach from 09:00 to 18:00 from 1 November to 30 April. People may walk their dogs, on a leash, from 18:00 to 09:00 from 1 November to 30 April and at any time from 1 May to 31 October.
The owner of the dog was fined R1 500,00 by Law Enforcement Officers for walking the dog illegally, the child’s aunt was assisted in laying a formal charge against the dog owner with the South African Police Services, and the dog was impounded.
“I would like to thank all lifeguards and safety personnel for their dedication over the Christmas and New Year period. Theirs is often a trying job when considering the high usage of our beaches and pools during peak periods. I’m very grateful for the hard work they will continue to do during the remainder of the Festive Season,” said Councillor Gqada.