Cape Town – Ten of the city's beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status.
The Blue Flag beaches are Bikini Beach, Gordons Bay; Camps Bay; 4th Beach, Clifton; Fish Hoek; Llandudno; Melkbosstrand; Mnandi; Muizenberg; Silwerstroomstrand; Strandfontein. Seaforth has been givened pilot status, which refers to a trial period, whereafter it could be awarded Blue Flag status.
Blue Flag is an international accreditation awarded to beaches that display excellence through meeting 33 criteria covering four categories: environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, and safety and services.
"The City is honoured to once again be part of the Blue Flag programme, with 10 of our beaches making the cut," said the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien.
"The Blue Flag beaches are geographically well positioned around the metropole, from Silwerstroomstrand in the north, beaches on the Atlantic Seaboard, to the secluded little Bikini Beach next to the Gordons Bay 'harbour in the south.
"These beaches are visited by thousands of residents and tourists every year and the City is making sure that they are of a high standard."
Since the second week of September, lifeguards have been stationed at various bathing areas around the city. More than 330 lifeguards will be on duty to ensure public safety, the City said.
During the 2018/19 summer season, the Recreation and Parks Department noted a near 50% reduction in the number of fatal drownings compared to the previous season.
"The reduction was as a result of increased education and awareness around the type of behaviours that put bathers at risk, but also the heroics and vigilance of our lifeguards.
"It is a massive undertaking to keep an eye on the thousands of people who descend on our beaches over the peak summer season, particularly on the priority days like Boxing and New Year’s Day.
"Our staff work tirelessly to ensure a quality experience for all visitors to our facilities, but ultimately it’s a two-way street and we need the public to support us by listening to lifeguards and other City staff, and to swim only in designated areas.
"Other concerns that our lifeguards have to contend with include drinking and swimming and unsupervised children," said Badroodien.