Tougher approach taken to ensure beachgoers are safe on Garden Route

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Authorities on the Garden Route are taking a tougher approach to ensure that beachgoers are safe this festive season. Municipalities in the region are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol.

South African Police Service (SAPS) and municipal authorities have been stationed at all beaches. They are maintaining a visible presence at all beaches in George in order to protect beachgoers.

“We have law enforcement officers at all our beaches as well as beach monitors who have been specifically appointed for the season. There’s a zero-tolerance to alcohol and all bags and cooler boxes are being searched and quite a lot of alcohol has been confiscated already. We are fortunate that we’ve had the assistance of SAPS as well as some of the neighbourhood watches on very busy days. We also have some temporary points men and all our traffic officials assisting at the beaches with traffic and parking,” says George’s municipal manager Dr. Michele Gratz.

With visitors thronging to the town, officials in Mossel Bay are taking the same approach at their beaches.

“On a regular basis, we do beach patrols by way of foot patrols. We also use quads and air surveillance by way of drones. The consumption of alcohol is not allowed on our beaches, especially on the perimeters where we have bathing and leisure activities. So we ask the public to please ensure this is not brought to the beaches,” says Mossel Bay Community Safety, Leon van Dyk,

With the authorities keeping an eye on people on the beach, the NSRI and lifeguards are keeping an eye on people in the water. Warnings are for bathers not to underestimate rip currents.

“They need to swim in between the flags when they are told to do so and they need not panic when they are caught by any of the currents. They need to just swim across the currents and shout for help. The lifeguards will be there to save them. But they shouldn’t take our rip currents for granted or our beaches for granted,” says lifeguard, Xolani Qakatayo.

The authorities will be stationed at the beaches throughout the festive season.

VIDEO: Cape Town beaches packed on the City’s traditional beach day