Sea Safety

Camps Bay is a beautiful beach, with easy accessible tempting waters. But it also has strong rip and cross currents, tempestuous waves and sometimes and undulating ocean floor. All carry an increased risk for those who cannot swim, or who are unfamiliar with local conditions.

The strong rip tides can pull you out to sea and are prominent especially on the sides of the bay. The nature of waves in Camps Bay, means they can also dump hard and be more forceful than they seem.

The undulating banks are caused by the tidal nature of Camps Bay. This can result in these alternating shallow and deep sand banks, so you could dive into water thinking its deep, and it’s actually shallow. Several neck injuries have happened to unwitting tourists. This tends to happen more on the Hout Bay side where this undulating effect is more common.

Many Africans cannot swim. On festive days, often with a dose of alcohol, they sometimes swim and get into trouble. Drownings do happen, most often to those that cannot swim or those unfamiliar with local conditions. We have partaken in some of these rescues. Sadly they have never been successful.

Camps Bay has a municipal lifesaving service with its office based on the Hout Bay side of the beach. Look for the double storey building with the red a yellow flag on its balcony.

The lifeguards are helpful and do their best, often in very difficult circumstances. And they can do a good job. I have personally seen 1 rescue swimmer cover 500 m in strong currents and rough seas, to save a man who was being swept out. Courage personified.

They do post a set of flags usually on the Hout Bay side, which demarcate the patrolled swimming area. This is an area they monitor constantly. They also patrol the rest of the beach.

If you have concerns about the conditions, check with the lifeguards they will advise you. They wear yellow tops and red shorts. They do actually post warning flags but people often don’t listen. If you hear them whistling from the beach, they are issuing a warning, usually for people to leave a dangerous swimming area.

The local NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) also has a local base, and will be called out if there is any need for sea search and rescue.

Camps Bay Life Guards                       +27 21 ????

National Sea Rescue                +27 449 3500

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