Summer is coming! Stay safe in the waters of the Southern Peninsula with the help of the unique Shark Spotters program.
Shark Spotters aims to bridge the gap between white shark conservation and public safety. There has been an increased number of shark incidents and sightings along the Cape Town inshore zone over the past few years. In response to this, Cape Town surfer, Greg Bertish along with Rasta Davids, Monwabisi Sikiya, and Surf Shack owners, Dave and Fiona Chudleigh; founded Shark Spotters in 2004.
The life of a Shark Spotter
15–20 keen-eyed shark spotters with polarised sunglasses and binoculars scan the waters from elevated platforms during five or six-hour shifts. They operate during daylight hours, seven days a week at nine popular beaches of theCape Peninsula, mainly along the False Bay coastline.
The spotters adhere to strict protocols; each spotter is in radio contact with another spotter on the beach – if there is a shark sighting, the beach spotter sounds a siren and raises a flag. The siren means that beach-goers must leave the water and only return when notified – thereby reducing the risk of a shark-related incident.
The spotters record data every day on sea conditions, the number of detected sharks and the number of water users. Shark Spotters recorded 476 shark sightings between 2005 and 2008, with the highest number in the summer season.
Despite limitations such as poor water visibility, human error and operating hours, the program is an efficient shark warning and safety system. Also, the program creates jobs and develops skills for the disadvantaged, raises awareness and educates the public about the environment and contributes to the knowledge base of the coastal occurrence of sharks.
Social media to the rescue
Shark Spotters uses Twitter to tweet shark sightings in real time, and also to announce when the water is safe again. They also use the platform to announce periods of high shark activity and other updates. So be sure to give them a follow: @SharkSpotters
Also, check out the event post for an exciting fundraiser on Sunday 22 November 2015 that Shark Spotters are hosting.
Another related event is a screening of Ocean Driven at Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is about Capetonian big wave surfer, Chris Bertish, who is the brother of Greg Bertish – one of the founders of Shark Spotters.
Where South Peninsula, Cape Town
Contact +27 78 174 4244