With the festive season in full swing, Kouga Municipality has issued safety tips to swimmers to prevent accidents and drownings.
“We would like to plead with people to cooperate with our lifeguards and swim only in demarcated areas, between the yellow and red flags,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Hattingh Bornman.

“We are also making a call to swimmers to avoid the ‘no swimming’ areas where we have put up boards for people not to swim as it may take a while for rescue services to reach one and the worst may occur.”
Bornman said it was noted that people also tended to go out to swim after midnight on 31 December 2023 as part of celebrating the New Year.

Lifeguards are operational at Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay from 08:00 to 19:00 (permitting weather conditions), and from 08:00 to 17:00 at the other swimming beaches.

“This is unadvisable as this is not a time scheduled for swimming and therefore no lifeguards will be on the beach and bathers would be swimming at own risk,” said Bornman.

Swimmers are also cautioned to be aware of strong rip currents. Some of the warning signs include:
*The water is generally calm, with few or no clean breaking waves in the area of a rip.
* Discoloured brown water, due to sand that has been stirred off the bottom.
* Foam on the surface extending beyond the break.
* Waves breaking further out on both sides of the rip.
* Debris floating seaward.
* A rippled appearance, where the surrounding water is generally calm.
* Rip currents are difficult to identify on windy days and when the surf is choppy.
* Sandbars frequently form next to rip currents.
* Do not be misled by the flat calm appearance of lakes and dams, as they give a false impression of safety.