With a spate of drowning and non-fatal drowning incidents along SA’s coast as the festive season progresses, the National Sea Rescue Institute warns bathers, anglers, parents and caregivers that now is the time to be more vigilant than ever.
The conditions for dangerous seas will be heightened this weekend and next week as the full moon peak tide reaches its peak on Tuesday.
The institute said that from Thursday, December 28, until January 7 next year this will have an affect on the coastline. High tide will be higher than normal, low tide will be lower than normal and rip currents will pose a heightened danger to bathers.
“NSRI are urging public awareness about Spring Tides to highlight safety around the coast and general safety to bathers, anglers, paddlers, sail boarders and boaters around the coast, with this full moon Spring Tide now upon us. Beach bathers and shoreline anglers are most at risk,” the institute said in a statement on Thursday.
It said it was imperative that visitors to the beaches swim only at those where lifeguards are on duty and obey the safety instructions of the lifeguards and only swim within the safe swimming zones marked (using their red and yellow flags).
Children should have responsible adult supervision in and around water.
Anglers, particularly those fishing on rocks, were at greatest risk during the Spring Tide because incoming waves crash higher than normal over rocks.
They were advised not to turn their backs on the sea.
While there have been few drowning incidents in KZN this festive season - a man reportedly drowned at Port Durnford north of Mtunzini last Friday, while there was a successful rescue of a male swimmer who got into trouble at Durban’s Battery Beach on Wednesday evening and the resuscitation of a child after an incident at Port Edward on Tuesday - the Western and Eastern Cape have both seen a number of drowning incidents.
eThekwini lifeguards have carried out a number of rescues with no known fatalities yet.