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Blue Flag Beach Season Festivities
December 1, 2012 @ 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
The City of Cape Town’s Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department, will launch the start of its Blue Flag Beach Season on Friday 30 November at Muizenberg Beach on SABC2 Morning Live from 06:00 until 08:00.
The launch will also showcase the Festive Season Readiness Beach Festival which starts on Saturday 1 December on the same beach. This is part of a programme to showcase its preparedness for the upcoming summer and Festive Season.
The free Festive Season Readiness Beach Festival is part of a weekend of exciting activities launching the summer season in the city which culminates in the switching on of the lights event in the City Centre on the Sunday evening, 2 December.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada, will deliver an address.
Local entertainment will be on offer at the festival, including a performance by Freshlyground, as well as various activities including beach soccer, volleyball, surfing lessons, kite surfing, obstacle courses, a jumping castle, face-painting, action cricket and recreational games.
- Date: Saturday 1 December 2012
- Time: 10:00 – 18:00
- Venue: Muizenberg Beach
- Entry: Free
All media are welcome to attend.
Every year the City compiles a comprehensive Festive Season Preparedness Plan in which it identifies ways to address the safety and service delivery challenges that come with the increased number of people, leisure activities and events happening between 1 December and the end of February.
Blue Flag Beaches
Cape Town has the highest number of Blue Flag Beaches in South Africa for the 2012/13 season. This is after all eight of the City’s applications for Blue Flag Beach status were successful. The Blue Flag status is in effect from 1 December 2012 to 31 March 2013. The beaches are Bikini, Camps Bay, Clifton Fourth, Llandudno, Muizenberg, Mnandi, Silwerstroom and Strandfontein.
“The City is very pleased with this acknowledgement of our commitment to maintaining world-class beaches. The beaches that have attained Blue Flag status are important to residents and tourists alike and this status is especially encouraging going into the Festive Season,” said Councillor Gqada.
Blue Flag status is an internationally recognised standard of excellence awarded to beaches that excel in the fields of safety, cleanliness, provision of amenities and maintenance of environmental standards. This voluntary eco-label requires that beaches meet 32 criteria spanning four aspects of coastal management, namely: water quality; environmental education and information; environmental management; and safety and services.
The status indicates that beaches are clean, have adequate ablution facilities and parking, are environmentally sound, are safe and secure to visit, and adhere to international safety and tourism standards. The accreditation is awarded for one season at a time and, if conditions change at the beach, it can be withdrawn.
As South Africa enters its tenth year of running the Blue Flag programme, the City has sustained excellent beach management standards, ensuring that Cape Town’s beaches rate among the best in the world.
Beach safety a must
During the Festive Season, approximately 250 trained and accredited lifeguards will be on duty at various beaches daily from 10:00 to 18:00. This is in addition to private lifesaving clubs on some beaches, Lifesaving Western Province’s volunteer services, the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and medic helicopters.
Beachgoers are urged to heed these safety tips:
- Swim only where there are lifeguards on duty and where signs indicate that it is safe to do so. Don’t swim if lifeguards are not present.
- Make sure that lifeguards can see you when you are in the water.
- Always swim between the red and yellow flags. These indicate safe, supervised swimming areas. Areas outside these flags might conceal dangerous currents and tides.
- Only swim in areas where other people are present. Swim in groups and advise friends or family when you go swimming.
- Do not swim when there are marine animals such as whales, dolphins and seals in the area or when a marine animal carcass has washed up onto the beach.
- If you find yourself in trouble, raise your arm and wave to attract the lifeguards’ attention. Do not panic, as this will tire you.
- If you see someone in trouble in the sea, alert the lifeguards or find trained help. Don’t put your own life in danger as well.
- Parents must be on high alert when their children are playing in or near the surf, a river or a pool. Children can also get lost on crowded beaches and parents are urged to be especially vigilant.
The City has a formal partnership with Lifesaving Western Province who will appoint and deploy a total of 250 lifesavers mainly sourced from existing lifesaving clubs in addition to its volunteer services at all of the City’s popular beaches. During peak periods, however, the lesser-known beaches will receive similar attention.
A total of 23 Shark Spotters will be deployed this Festive Season at Glencairn, Clovelly, Muizenberg Corner, Fish Hoek, St James, Kalk Bay, Noordhoek and Kogel Bay (The Caves).
Beach users must familiarise themselves with the flag warning system at these beaches by checking the signage and speaking to a beach-based shark spotter if they have any queries. It is critical that when a siren sounds bathers (including surfers and paddlers) evacuate the water. The summer season sees increased numbers of sharks in the water and beach users should bear this in mind and exercise caution.
Law Enforcement Officers will be conducting regular patrols on the City’s beaches throughout the Festive Season. Beach users are reminded that no alcohol is allowed on any City beach. Residents and visitors are requested to please follow any instructions given by lifeguards, Shark Spotters or Law Enforcement Officers. They are there to provide assistance and ensure the safety of all beach-goers. The public must observe and obey all safety signage on the beach.
The City will be making beach wheelchairs available at ten of its beaches. The provision of the wheelchairs underscores the City’s commitment to enhancing access to natural resources for all of its citizens.
Public swimming pools
There will be 283 lifeguards on duty at the City’s 36 public swimming pools this Festive Season. All public pools will be open between 10:00 and 17:00 daily, except for Blue Downs, Long Street, Strand and Sea Point swimming pools, which will be open from 07:00 to 19:00 daily.
Regular checks will be conducted on public amenities at beaches and swimming pools to ensure that all bathrooms and showers are clean and in working order, facilities are kept neat and maintained, and that tidal pools at beaches are managed properly.
Swimming pool rules:
- Only regular swimming costumes are permitted for swimming.
- No alcohol, firearms, animals, use of soap, glass containers, balls or frisbee games, underwater diving equipment, inflatable mattresses and tubes, playing of music or preparation of food are permitted on the premises.
- No running, pushing, ducking, petting, bombing, shouting or rough play.
- Children under the age of seven must be accompanied and supervised by an adult or parent.
- Children over the age of seven are not allowed in the baby pool.
- Any illnesses must be reported to staff before using the swimming pool.
- The superintendent’s instructions are to be obeyed at all times.
- Failure to obey these rules will result in you being asked to leave the premises.
- Lifesaving duties include
- Patrolling and monitoring the pool deck area, lifesaving equipment, diving boards and diving activities.
- Monitoring and controlling the entrance to, and exit from, the pool – including crowd control measures.
- Monitoring and controlling patrons’ physical activities such as games and free play.
- Identifying hazards and threats to patrons and removing the risks.
- Ensuring own safety while participating in aquatic rescues.
- Applying the correct and prescribed lifesaving and first-aid procedures.
Resorts and fun abound
The Sport, Recreation and Amenities Department manages a total of 13 camping and chalet facilities in the Cape metropolitan area which include Harmony Park, Hendon Park, Soetwater, Kogel Bay, Miller’s Point, Silwerstroomstrand, Zandvlei, Fish Hoek, Blue Waters, Mnandi, Monwabisi, Kuils River, Voortrekker Park and Macassar. These resorts offer a variety of facilities including electrified and non-electrified camping sites, chalets and small conference facilities.
The Department has put plans in place to ensure that all facilities are maintained and are of flagship status.
No alcohol is permitted in any of the City’s resorts.
Disaster risk management always a factor
Staff of the Disaster Risk Management Centre, together with volunteers, will be deployed across the city at beaches and swimming pools to provide support services to lifeguards. They will also do duty at tourist destinations in order to ensure maximum safety.
The City’s Disaster Management Team is on 24-hour full alert and is geared for all eventualities. The public may report any life or property threatening emergency (including medical, crime, fire and traffic) to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line. Cell-phone users must dial 021 480 7700.
The City’s Disaster Risk Management Team, together with the City’s Fire and Rescue Services, will also embark on a strategy to mitigate the occurrence of devastating fires. The DRM Centre will commence a campaign that will run throughout the Festive Season to highlight the dangers of fires and to teach communities how to avoid fires that could result in loss of life, injuries, damage to property and the environment.
Keeping an eye
The City’s law enforcement teams will be on high alert during the entire Festive Season period, and can respond to any eventuality around the clock. Coordinating measures are in place to ensure open communication between all branches of City, Provincial and National law enforcement agencies.
This year, the City will also make use of Neighbourhood Safety Officers to be deployed in their neighbourhoods – they will be tasked with identifying any potential law enforcement problem and to alert the relevant law enforcement authority, speedily.
A geographical deployment plan has been drawn up to ensure the most effective deployment of resources during this Festive Season. Priority days have also been identified, where extra officers will be deployed on active duty. Regional “co-ordinating centres” will ensure effective law enforcement on grass-roots level.
R12.2 million has been budgeted for cleansing during the Festive Season. Refuse removal will continue uninterrupted over this period (even on public holidays). More than 1 834 extra cleansing staff will be appointed to conduct additional cleansing in business districts and on scenic routes and beaches.
Upcoming festive events
A number of high profile events will take place in and around the city. The Festive Season is launched with the Switch on of the City’s Festive Lights at the Cape Town Stadium, on 2 December. Several other events will entertain holidaymakers – such as the Lady Gaga Concert on 3 December, Kirstenbosch’s Carols by Candlelight between 13 and 16 December, New Year’s Eve Concert and Fireworks Display on 31 December and Tweede Nuwejaar/ Minstrels on 2 January 2013.