Skip to content





Shark Spotters Programme<h2 class="sectHeading">Helping humans and sharks</h2><p>Trained observers, called 'Shark Spotters' are positioned at strategic high points along the Cape Peninsula, and mainly along the False Bay coastline (see table below). They scan the water looking for sharks, using polarised sunglasses and binoculars.</p> <span> <div class="mobile-scroll"> <table style="width:418px;"><thead><tr><th rowspan="1" style="width:204px;">​Beach</th><th rowspan="1">Operating times​</th></tr><tr style="text-align:left;"><th colspan="2" style="width:324px;">Permanent beaches (365 days a year)  </th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td style="width:204px;">Muizenberg</td><td>08:00 - 18:00</td></tr><tr><td style="width:204px;">Kalk Bay/ St James</td><td>08:00 - 18:00</td></tr><tr><td style="width:204px;">Fish Hoek</td><td>07:00 - 18:45 (Summer)<br>08:00 - 18:00 (Winter)</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1" style="width:204px;">​Caves (Kogel Bay)</td><td rowspan="1">​08:00 - 18:00 (Summer)<br>08:00 - 17:00 (Winter)</td></tr><tr style="text-align:left;"><th rowspan="1" colspan="2" style="width:324px;">​Seasonal beaches (Oct - April, on weekends, public holidays and school holidays ​</th></tr><tr><td rowspan="1" style="width:204px;">Clovelly​</td><td rowspan="1">​10:00 - 17:00</td></tr><tr><td rowspan="1" colspan="1" style="width:204px;">​Monwabisi</td><td rowspan="1">​08:00 - 18:00</td></tr></tbody></table></div>​​​</span> <p>When a shark is spotted, a siren is sounded and <strong>a white flag </strong>is raised on the beach, signaling to swimmers to leave the water and only return when the “all clear” signal is given. </p><p>Shark Spotters use a system of four colour-coded flags to inform beach goers of the shark status and spotting conditions of the beach. See our <a href="" target="_blank">shark flag warning poster</a> for more information on the four flags.</p><p>The programme uses research conducted on several shark species in Cape Town to inform conservation and management strategies, public safety policy, and education and awareness campaigns. Shark Spotters also collate shark sighting information. </p><p>In 2012, as part of the programme, the Shark Spotters partnered with the City to install an environmentally friendly <a href="">shark exclusion net<i class="icon link-external"></i></a> off Fish Hoek Beach, to prevent sharks from entering into the swimming area of the beach.</p> <span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Become a spotter </h2></span> <p>To be a shark spotter you must have excellent eyesight, a passion for the environment, and excellent communication skills. Work experience that involves the ocean is an advantage. Shark spotters come from local communities where the programme operates. </p><p>Posts are usually advertised in the local newspapers, the People’s Post and the False Bay Echo in August and September to prepare for the summer season. </p><h4>Training </h4><p>All spotters undergo an intensive training programme. Experienced spotters and fisherman teach new recruits how to spot a shark, to identify the marine animals in the area; and how weather and water conditions affect spotting ability. </p><p>Spotters also join research field trips to see the sharks up close at Seal Island and are taught basic marine biology. Spotters receive continual on-the-job training and learn skills through experience on a daily basis.</p><h4>Basic first aid</h4><p>All spotters are trained in basic first aid so that they are able to respond should a shark bite incident or other medical emergency take place on the beach. </p> <span> <div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info toptip">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Top tip</h4><p>Find out more about our sharks and how we can all work together to be safer and more aware in our seas by visiting <a href="">Focus on sharks</a>. </p></div></div></span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Donate to Shark Spotters​​​​​​​</h2><p> Shark Spotters receives 85% of its funding from the City of Cape Town and <a href="" target="_blank">Save Our Seas Foundation<i class="icon link-external"></i></a>. However, we need to raise an additional 15% of our annual operating budget through fundraising events and donations from businesses and individuals. </p><h4> You can donate via the following: </h4><ul><li>PayPal - using a credit or debit card</li><li>SMS – send the word ‘SHARK’ to <em></em> <em> <strong>38021 </strong></em>to donate R10 (within SA only. Free SMSes do not apply)</li><li> Direct deposit into the <a href="" target="_blank">Shark Spotters bank account<i class="icon link-external"></i></a> </li></ul><div class="notification with-heading dark-copy pink bg-light-grey"><div class="graphic with-border"> <i class="info note">​​​</i> </div><div class="desc"><h4>Please note</h4><p>Shark Spotters is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 060-390) and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 93037 421). As an NPO they are registered under Section 18(a) of the Income Tax act, and are therefore able to issue receipts for donations that can be claimed against an organisation's or individual’s taxable income with SARS.</p></div></div> <span> <h2 class="sectHeading">​​​​​​​​​​Contact us​​​​​​​</h2></span> <p>If you are interested in becoming a spotter, or would like to find more information about the Shark Spotters programme, you can contact Shark Spotters via their site's online form<span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"> </span>contact our main representative below:</p><h4>Sarah Waries, Project Manager of the Shark Spotters Programme</h4><p> <em>Telephone: </em><br><em> <a href="/ia/Lists/Action%20Pages/EditForm.aspx?ID=203&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fcontribute%2Ecapetown%2Egov%2Eza%2Fia%2FLists%2FAction%2520Pages%2FAllItems%2Easpx%23InplviewHash97ead3a2%2Df57e%2D40cf%2Dbcf6%2Db0a31d2d0be1%3D&ContentTypeId=0x0100F1931735C28005448E6486EE20C4B5C400FDF7CC6FBEAD1B4F847C74A66CD89129">078 174 4244</a></em></p><p> <em>Fax: </em><br><em><a>086 508 6258</a></em></p><p> <em>Email: </em><br><a href=""><em></em></a></p>GP0|#7315b305-1a93-40e7-a591-66e082e40d79;L0|#07315b305-1a93-40e7-a591-66e082e40d79|Nature and environment;GTSet|#a7cfb90d-44ad-4426-98ce-565f79932396;GPP|#35719d0d-5c98-4384-9af1-e91dc8392e18Learn about the Shark Spotter Programme or get involved by donating or volunteering.0





You have disabled JavaScript on your browser.
Please enable it in order to use City online applications.