Shark Alert in False Bay! Sharkspotters to the rescue.
We have been getting increasing reports of shark sightings around Noordhoek beach and Kommetjie. These reports are not coming from surfers or fisherman, but dedicated “Sharkspotters” who’s job it is to warn surfers and bathers to the presence of large toothy fish.
It all started with Rasta Davids, an informal parking attendant working for tips looking after cars at Muizenberg beach. He then progressed to holding car keys for surfers, who either had to leave them under the wheel, or risk losing them in the water. Gradually he gained the trust of the locals and broadened his repertoire by looking out for sharks in the water while guys were surfing.
Surfer and entrepreneur Greg Bertish saw the beginning of a much needed service and with the help of sponsorship formalised the process, pioneering the first sharkspotting organisation in the country.
“One was to be stationed on the beach on a tower ( beach watch), while the other was stationed high on the mountain above the beach. ( mountain watch)”
It has since grown and now has 9 sites at which sharkspotters are posted. 8 of these are in False bay (warmer water)
The system they devised is call the FLAGPOLE signal and works as follows:
- If there is no flag visible it means there is no shark spotter on duty.
- A green flag indicates the shark spotter is on duty, has good visibility and has not sighted any sharks.
- A black flag indicates that the shark spotter is on duty but there is bad visibility from the observation post.
- A red flag indicates a shark has been sighted by the shark spotter but is currently not visible.
- A white flag with a black shark in the middle of the flag indicates that a shark is currently visible in the area.
- When a shark is spotted by the shark spotter an air horn or a siren will sound
Below is a list of the beaches where sharkspotters have got your back.
- DANGER BEACH, ST JAMES
- THE HOEK, NOORDHOEK
- ALPHA SURF LIFESAVING CLUB, BLUE WATERS BEACH
- MONWABISI SURF LIFESAVING CLUB, MONWABISI BEACH
- MNANDI SURF LIFESAVING CLUB, MNANDI BEACH