Shark Spotters will be posted at eight local beaches for the duration of the festive season and a shark exclusion net is already being deployed at Fish Hoek beach every day, between 9am and 5pm.

The City of Cape Town has employed the seasonal shark spotters to be on duty at eight beaches from December 12 2018 to January 7 2019.

The Shark Spotters will be part of surveillance teams at each beach, and will be on-site at the beaches of St James/Kalk Bay, Caves in Koegal Bay, Glencairn, Closely, Muizenberg, The Hoek in Noordhoek and Monwabisi.

The surveillance teams will be operating during the following times:

Operating times/City of Cape Town

Residents can visit the Shark Spotters Information Centre at Surfers Corner in Muizenberg if they have any queries or are in need of assistance. The centre is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm and provides basic first-aid assistance, general help with emergencies, lost property, and storage of valuables.

Fish Hoek shark net

A net is dispatched (weather permitting) on the beach in summer as more sharks approach the False Bay coastline during the warmer season. It creates a physical barrier for sharks and has been effective in preventing them from entering the area closer to the shore. It has proven to be an effective mechanism so far.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Alderman Felicity Purchase, comments on the prevalence of sharks during the year.

“Most sightings are reported during mid-summer as the presence of sharks is more prevalent along our False Bay coastline during the warmer months. Shark sightings typically start in late August and continue through to April. The public can also report shark sightings to the shark spotters,” she says.

Shark spotters/ City of Cape Town

Purchase goes on to remind members of the public to remain vigilant when in the ocean and to adhere to any warnings issued by the shark spotters.

“White sharks are present in our ocean and, by going into the water, there is a small possibility of encountering one of these animals,” Purchase says.

A free Shark Spotters mobile app is available for download on Android and Apple devices which provides the latest shark safety information, including recent sightings, net deployments and more.

Shark Spotters App/ City of Cape Town

The City has provided a list of safety tips the public is encouraged to follow:

– Swim at beaches where shark spotters are present

– Be aware of the meaning of the shark spotter flags – the green flag indicates that spotting conditions are good, red signals a high risk of in-shore shark activity and black means that a shark has been spotted. If a shark is spotted a siren will be sounded to alert swimmers to evacuate the water.

– Look for shark signage on beaches

– Once a shark has been spotted, a siren will be sounded alerting people to evacuate the water

– Do not swim, surf or surf-ski at night

– When water temperatures are 18ºC or higher, or there is a new moon, the probability of encountering white sharks rises significantly

– Do not swim near river mouths

– Do not enter the water if trek-netting, fishing or spear fishing is taking place

– Listen to shark spotters when they notify you that it is not safe to enter the water

– Kayakers and surfers are encouraged to use a personal shark shield while on the water.

 

Picture: Facebook/ Shark Spotters/Sean Geer

Article written by

Ishani Chetty

Ishani is a vegetarian who is passionate about social issues, the environment and current affairs.