Four fatal drowning of bathers were recorded since the start of December and they happened either outside of designated bathing areas or outside of lifeguard duty hours, the City said on Wednesday.
The mayoral committee member for community services and health, Patricia van der Ross, said: “We request the public to continue to swim only where and when lifeguards are on duty, between their red and yellow flags. Please also take heed of the warnings about rip currents and stronger swells in the days ahead.”
She said the fatal drownings that happened at non-bathing areas were recorded at Lagoon Beach and at the Wolfgat coastline which borders Mitchell’ Plain and Khayelitshas, while an incident before lifeguard duty hours occurred at Clifton 4th Beach and the other incident occurred after lifeguard duty hours at Strandfontein Beach.
Beach lifeguards are on duty between 10am and 6pm daily. On exceptionally busy days, these hours may be extended based on the number of patrons still on the beach.
Ms Van der Ross said a team of nine City lifeguards performed a serious water rescue of about 11 people at Monwabisi Beach on Tuesday at around 2pm.
“The group, aged between 28 and 35, was swimming in the vicinity of a submerged off-shore sandbank adjacent to a prevalent rip current when they lost their footing and found themselves in trouble. Lifeguards responded with torpedo buoys and Malibu boards and brought all (of them) back to shore safely,” she said.
She said three members of them, one female and two males, required additional medical assistance and were treated for non-fatal drowning symptoms. Two of them were later transported to hospital by ambulance.
In terms of the Identikidz project, staff have, since the start of the project in mid-December, tagged 48 957 children, of whom 65 were reunited with their caregivers.