04 FEBRUARY 2010

City warns beach users of high shark activity

The City of Cape Town would like to warn beach users of high shark activity on the False Bay coast observed during the past few days, especially at Fish Hoek, St. James and Muizenberg beaches. This increased shark activity is most likely the result of high biological activity in the Bay, such as the presence of seals and schools of Yellowtail.

On beaches monitored by the Shark Spotters, the normal shark warning flags will be used. However, the public should note that in addition to these flags, a red flag will be flown throughout the day. This red flag serves as a warning of increased sightings of sharks in False Bay.

The City urges the public to be cautious and mindful of safety warnings. If shark warnings are sounded, they should leave the water immediately and not return to it until the Shark Spotters have indicated that it is safe to do so. In addition, the public is encouraged to:

• Ensure that they swim in groups;
• Ensure that they are visible to other people;
• Refrain from swimming when there are marine mammals (whales, dolphins, seals) in the area;
• Refrain from swimming when a marine mammal or carcass has washed out on the beach;
• Refrain from swimming when there is a stranded marine mammal in the area.

Gert Bam, Director of Sport, Recreation and Amenities, encourages the public to acquaint themselves with the warning signals issued by the Shark Spotters when arriving at the beach. “The public should make a point of reading information signage provided on the beach and familiarising themselves with the colour-coded flags; they can enquire with a Shark Spotter based at the beach if necessary,” he said.

Shark Spotter flags indicate the following:

Green Flag: A Shark Spotter is on duty and visibility is good. There are no sharks in the area.

Red Flag: A shark has been spotted in the area in the last two hours.

Black Flag: A Shark Spotter is on duty but visibility is poor.

White Flag with black shark: There is a shark in the area. A siren is simultaneously sounded to clear the beach. Swimmers must stay out of the water until the flag is lowered.

In an emergency, the public should please dial 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone.

“We urge the public to always read the signage and familiarise themselves with the flag system at Cape Town’s beaches. In this way they can relax and enjoy themselves at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world,” said Bam.

Further information on the flag system is provided below.


Issued by: Communication Department, City of Cape Town

Media enquiries: Gert Bam, Director: Sport, Recreation and Amenities, Tel: 021 400 5090 Cell: 084 222 1242

Sakhile Tsotsobe, Coastal Coordinator: Sport, Recreation and Amenities, Tel: 021 400 4638 Cell: 074 185 0123

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