With the coming of spring, Cape Town beach cottages and other holiday accommodation establishments look forward to an increase in the number of guests and visitors to our beautiful city and its wonderful clean beaches. We have noticed quite an increase in the number of Google searches that relate to sharks and the safety of the beaches of Cape Town recently, so it will come as good news for prospective visitors to find that the City of Cape Town, in conjunction with the Shark Spotters’ programme will put in place three new, strikingly visible information signs to inform visitors as well as raise awareness about the presence of sharks in Cape Town’s waters and to guide beach users on the workings of Shark Spotting Programme.
A new blue ‘Shark Smart’ sign will convey general information on sharks in Cape Town waters as well as advice on using the ocean, and will be erected in the near future. The existing Shark Spotting Programme information sign has been modified to explain the meaning of the colour-coded shark warning flags and shows information on shark spotter duty shifts. Beach-goers can also use it to get general visibility condition information, emergency service contact details and the date of the last shark sighting.
Red warning signs indicating a ‘high risk’ have been placed on Jagger’s Walk at Fish Hoek Beach – where the most recent shark attack occurred. Bathers are , however, reminded to always be vigilant and exercise caution when they swim at any beach, particularly in the deeper waters. In addition, all Shark Spotting Programme flags now have a shark outline printed on them, to ensure that beach users are able to differentiate between the shark spotting flags and other, unrelated, bathing flags.
When the Red Shark Flag is flown this indicates a general shark alert, and will be raised when a shark has been observed in the area, when there are more sharks in the area, or when there are conditions conducive to increased shark activity, such as high fish activity or stranding of a whale. This flag will be lowered only when the alert is no longer necessary and will be flown in conjunction with one of the other spotting flags.
The new shark information signs may be found on the following Cape Peninsula beaches: Noordhoek Corner , Glencairn, Fish Hoek, Clovelly, St. James, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg. The signage is designed to be highly visible and has been strategically placed to ensure that it is accessible to all beach users. The City has requested the public to familiarise themselves with the new signs. Beach-based shark spotters are available to answer any questions related to shark safety, and informational brochures can be obtained from them or the “Save Our Seas” Shark Centre in Kalk Bay. Swimmers are advised to leave the water immediately when warnings are sounded and not return to it until the shark spotters have given the all-clear. For further details and copies of the signs refer to the City of Cape Town website :
In a previous blog post we have pointed out that shark attacks are quite rare on the beaches of Cape Town and that bathing is generally safe. Whilst the attack at Fish Hoek occurred on a deep water bather, most shark attacks involve surfers and spear fisherman and take place way beyond the usual bathing beach waters. If anyone is not reassured by this information and wishes to find information about the many safe tidal pools and enclosed beaches of False Bay, this can be found in our blog post :
By Dennis Cook
Horizon Holiday Cottages, Noordhoek
affordable Cape Town accommodation