The City launches plan to boost safety on Cape Town beaches

The City has deployed 330 policing personnel and 340 lifeguards to beaches across the metro as part of the largest-ever festive season safety operation.

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Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis launched the City’s Festive Beach Safety Plans at the Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club on 22 November.

‘Cape Town is ready to welcome the world to our beautiful, clean, Blue Flag beaches. For your safety, the City is deploying 330 policing personnel dedicated to specific beaches across the City. This includes special Beach Joint Operational Centres (JOCs). Over 4,000 uniformed enforcement and emergency personnel will be available as part of the City’s largest ever safety deployment over a festive season,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Picture: City of Cape Town

‘Our Festive Season Policing Plan includes vehicle checkpoints on major routes to beaches. Officers will clamp down on alcohol use in public spaces, and we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour. We will also increase the use of tech such as CCTV and drones. Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue Service, and Disaster Risk Management volunteers will be on hand to assist with public safety and awareness,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

As part of the City’s drowning prevention campaign, the City is deploying 340 beach lifeguards and 343 swimming pool lifeguards. Beach lifeguards are on duty between 10am and 6pm daily.

Partners include Lifesaving Cape Town, with 14 clubs along the coast, and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), which is on standby to make emergency deployments of rescue swimmers and vessels operating from seven base stations across the city.

Picture: City of Cape Town

‘Last summer, Cape Town’s beach lifeguards were able to ensure no fatal drownings during their duty hours at designated bathing areas. There were also no fatal drownings recorded at public swimming pools.

‘Of concern is that all 19 of the fatal drownings at beaches last summer occurred outside of designated bathing areas or when lifeguards were off duty. We appeal to the public to be alert, even if you are a strong swimmer. Always swim between the red and yellow flags designating the safest swimming area, and listen to the instructions of our lifeguards. They are there for your safety and peace of mind,’ said Councillor Patricia van der Ross, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health.

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The City would like to remind the public of four golden rules to be cognisant of when in and around water:

  • Do not swim under the influence of alcohol.
  • Do not leave children unsupervised in or around water.
  • Beware of rip currents. If you’re caught in a current, try to stay calm and signal for help.
  • Always swim on a beach with lifeguards on duty and stay between the red and yellow safety flags.

The City will deploy over 720 extra staff to keep Cape Town clean. This R22 million top-up service will target all beaches, scenic routes and central business districts.

‘Cape Town’s anti-litter mascot, Bingo, will be gracing our beaches together with our Public Awareness, Communication and Education Team. In this way, we will motivate visitors to “bin it in the Bingo bin” and keep Cape Town clean for all to enjoy,’ said Alderman Grant Twigg, Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management.

Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayco member for economic growth, says a bumper tourism season is expected in Cape Town.

‘Forward bookings for the coming weeks show that Cape Town is going to enjoy a bumper visitor season. Between now and March, Cape Town International Airport is set to process around 31,000 passengers every day. This was made possible thanks to the hard work of the City in driving effective campaigns and strategies to entice domestic and international travel to our shores.

At the same time, we have worked closely with local businesses to help them become tourism-ready.

‘Besides our many beautiful beaches and recreational areas, visitors in December can enjoy a taste of Cape Town at a range of markets at the Company’s Gardens in the CBD, Ridgeworth near Bellville, Steenberg in the Southern Suburbs, and Atlantis,’ said Alderman Vos.

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