Shark Spotters is a non-profit organisation that employs spotters at several Cape Town beaches to look for sharks and alert bathers, surfers and other water users. The primary funders are the City of Cape Town and WWF’s Table Mountain Fund.
The organisation was founded by surfer, Greg Bertish, and a group of concerned business owners and surfers after a shark attack at Muizenberg in 2004. Later that same year the Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club initiated shark spotting following a fatal shark attack at Fish Hoek beach. Both programme were operated using donations from the public and sponsorship from business prior to receiving funding from the authorities. This is the only programme of it’s kind in the world.
Shark spotters scan the ocean using polarized sunglasses and binoculars from a point of elevation like a mountain slope. People in the water are alerted to approaching sharks by means of a siren and a warning flag located on the beach. At most locations spotters work in teams, one look-out on the mountain and one beach patrol. All spotters are in radio contact.
Shark Spotters works closely with WP Lifesaving and lifeguards are employed as shark spotters at 4 lifesaving clubs during their duty times.