The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department did it again when WESSA earlier today announced that 10 Cape Town beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for the summer season. The announcement is good news for beachgoers and shows the City’s commitment to providing quality facilities for residents and visitors.
Blue Flag is an international accreditation awarded to beaches that display excellence through meeting 33 criteria covering four categories: environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.
The following City beaches ticked the boxes and were awarded Blue Flag Status:
- Bikini Beach, Gordons Bay
- Camps Bay
- Fourth beach, Clifton
- Fish Hoek
- Seaforth (pilot status)
(Pilot status refers to a trial period – it could be awarded Blue Flag status).
‘The City is honoured to once again be part of the Blue Flag programme, with 10 of our beaches making the cut. The Blue Flag beaches are geographically well positioned around the metropole, from Silwerstroomstrand in the north, beaches on the Atlantic Seaboard, to the secluded little Bikini Beach next to the Gordons Bay Harbour in the South. These beaches are visited by thousands of residents and tourists every year and the City is making sure that they are of a high standard,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.
The Blue Flag announcement is just the latest piece of the Recreation and Parks Department’s summer readiness puzzle.
Since the second week of September 2019, lifeguards have been stationed at various bathing areas around the city. More than 330 lifeguards will be on duty to ensure public safety.
During the 2018/19 summer season, the Recreation and Parks Department noted a near 50% reduction in the number of fatal drownings compared to the previous season.
‘The reduction was as a result of increased education and awareness around the type of behaviours that put bathers at risk, but also the heroics and vigilance of our lifeguards. It is a massive undertaking to keep an eye on the thousands of people who descend on our beaches over the peak summer season, particularly on the priority days like Boxing and New Year’s Day. Our staff work tirelessly to ensure a quality experience for all visitors to our facilities, but ultimately it’s a two-way street and we need the public to support us by listening to lifeguards and other City staff, and to swim only in designated areas. Other concerns that our lifeguards have to contend with include drinking and swimming and unsupervised children,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
GENERAL BEACH SAFETY TIPS:
- Make sure you know how to swim before swimming in the sea.
- Swim between the red and yellow flags, as these areas are patrolled by lifeguards.
- Identify an easy-to-find place where you can meet if anyone gets lost or separated.
- Stay hydrated. Watch out for signs of dehydration such as red, dry skin, rapid/weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing.
- Don’t drink alcohol before you swim as it impairs your judgement.
- Don’t dive into unfamiliar water as there may be rocks or other dangers.
If you get caught in a rip current:
- Don’t panic.
- Don’t try to swim straight back to the shore against the current as this will exhaust you.
- Try to tread water or turn on your back and float (rip tides get weaker as they go further out).
- Raise one arm in the air and wave for help to alert people on the beach that you are in trouble.
- Swim parallel to the beach, out of the current, and then use waves to help you get back to the beach.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Media enquiries: Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, City of Cape Town, Cell: 072 639 5773,