As part of its largest ever festive season safety operation, the City of Cape Town will deploy 330 policing personnel and 340 lifeguards to beaches across the metro. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis launched the City’s Festive Beach Safety plans at Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club last week.
“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. 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 Hill-Lewis.
“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 & 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, JP Smith.
As part of the City’s campaign to prevent drowning, the City is deploying 340 beach lifeguards and 343 swimming pool lifeguards. Beach lifeguards are on duty between 10h00 and 18h00 daily.
Partners include Lifesaving Cape Town, with 14 clubs along the coast, and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), who are on standby to make emergency deployments of rescue swimmers and vessels operating from seven base stations across the city.
“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.
The City will also deploy over 720 extra staff to keep Cape Town clean. This R22 million (€1m) top-up service will target all beaches, scenic routes and central business districts.