Bathers, paddlers and anglers are being warned to be cautious as we head into the new year with a strong new moon spring tide forecast. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) issued the warning on Monday 26 January for Thursday the 29th of December the monthly New Moon occurs.
“This means that the twice monthly Spring Tide (which occurs at Full Moon and at New Moon) peaks on Thursday 29th December.”
The NSRI warns that the spring Tide will start to build in intensity from today, Monday, 26th December, peaking on the New Moon day, Thursday 29th December, and gradually lessening in intensity towards about Monday, 2nd of January.
“Anyone visiting the beach from today, 26th December, will notice that these twice daily high tides start to gradually get higher than normal, as this week progresses, and the twice daily low tides gradually start to get lower than normal”
‘Exercise extreme caution’
The busy festive season has already seen a number of incidents in in Yzerfontein, Hawston, Mossel Bay, Gordons Bay, Port Edward, Hout Bay.
News24 reports police divers expected to continue the search for a 21-year-old man on Boxing Day, who is missing since Christmas and presumed drowned in the sea off Hawston near Hermanus.
On 22 December a 7-year-old boy who did not have a pulse for more 45 minutes was resuscitated by persistent paramedics. According to Marshall Security spokesperson Kyle Van Reenen, the boy was left fighting for his life following a “drowning incident” at a popular Umhlanga Rocks hotel, north of Durban.
‘Visible rip currents’
The NSRI warns rip currents “will also become visibly noticeable that rip-currents will begin to get stronger than normal from today onwards.”
NSRI are urging bathers, paddlers and anglers to be aware of this years end of the year “New Moon Spring Tide” happening at a time when most families will be visiting the beach (coastline) and extreme caution around the coast is advised. To report an emergency dial 112 from a cellphone
Spring Tides happen twice every month, at full moon and at new moon, and bring higher than normal high tides, lower than normal low tides and stronger than normal rip currents around the coastline. There are two high tides and two low tides every day.
If you get caught in a rip current, do not panic. Simply stay afloat by treading water (moving your arms and legs in circular movements), don’t try to swim against the current as it will only cause you exhaustion. Rather allow the current sweep you out to sea, but at your first opportunity, swim parallel to the beach front until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore.
While this is happening scream for help and wave your arm to alert people on the beach to raise the alarm.
In order to stay safe, beach-goers are being asked to adhere to the following safety tips:
– Swim only where there are lifeguards and where signs indicate that it is safe to do so.
– If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and relax. Swim slowly and conservatively parallel to the shoreline or relax and let it carry you out past the breakers until it slacks.
– If you see someone else in trouble in the sea, alert the lifeguards or find help. Do not put your own life in danger as well.
– Don’t drink alcohol before swimming or driving motor boats. The use of alcohol dulls the senses, slows the reactions and can lead to irresponsible behavior.
– Don’t dive from tidal pool walls – this can result in spinal injuries.
– Do not take small or unstable boats out far from the shore in choppy water or bad weather.