Safe surfing with new Shark Spotters app!

2016-10-24 18:00
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Cape Town - Beach-goers in Cape Town must think twice before leaving their smartphones at home - especially if they plan on braving the deeper waters on their surf boards. Cape Town beaches have seen 51 shark sightings in 2016, but much is being done to ensure the safety of beach-goers with the festive season approaching.

Since 1 October, the Fish Hoek shark cut-off barrier has been deployed daily and the Shark Spotters Programme is operating at eight beaches in Cape Town until Monday 1 May 2017. 

Now, the City of Cape Town has announced the launch of the Shark Spotters mobile app – an innovative app to assist swimmers and surfers to be more shark smart at Cape Town’s beaches this summer.

ALSO SEE: Summer safety: 30 shark spotters to watch over Cape beaches

What does the app do?

The Shark Spotters app is unique mobile application which conveniently provides water users with current and accurate shark safety information on their smartphones so they can make informed decisions about shark risks, even before arriving at the beach. The app gives users access to real-time information, allowing the Shark Spotters to render a more efficient and effective service to the community.

‘We believe the Shark Spotters app will be an essential beach safety and information tool for all water users in Cape Town during the upcoming beach season. This app will provide keen surfers and swimmers with specific information about their favourite beach spots even before they travel to them,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe. 

The Shark Spotters app provides water users with all the latest shark safety information at City beaches, including which flag is currently flying and why. The flags fly for various reasons, including: 

•         poor spotting conditions due to cloud cover
•         shark sightings
•         an indication of water temperature
•         the lunar phase
•         an indication of whether the shark exclusion barrier in Fish Hoek has been deployed or not

How accurate is the info? 

The app is updated by the Shark Spotters on duty in real time so users can be assured that they always have the most current information at their fingertips to help them make a personal assessment about shark risks when entering the water. 

Handy extras

Other information can also be found on the app:

- weather conditions

- marine animal activity in the area (such as whales, seals, dolphins, sunfish etc.)

- details regarding amenities on the beaches

- short surf videos of isolated surf spots covered by the programme that do not have live web-cams in operation. 
- safety tips to reduce the risk of encountering a shark and information about shark activity in Cape Town. 
‘We are very grateful to all individuals and organisations who contributed to making the app a reality and are very excited to be able to be a key partner in this initiative which offers such a valuable service to the community. Shark Spotters is an invaluable partner doing some great work and we are proud to be affiliated with this non-profit organisation,’ said Councillor Van der Merwe.

Is my smartphone compatible? 

The Shark Spotters app is available on iOS and Android platforms and is free to download.

For more information, residents should please contact Sarah Waries, the Shark Spotter Project Manager, on 078 174 4244.

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