Shark Spotters has launched its latest innovation in sustainable shark safety solutions: a new mobile app that will help swimmers and surfers to ‘Be Shark Smart’ at Cape Town’s beaches. Inspired by requests from the community, this unique app provides water-users with current and accurate shark safety information in the palm of their hand, so that they can make informed decisions about the risk of an encounter with a shark before they even arrive at the beach.
Over the past 12 years, Shark Spotters has become a household name in Cape Town. Most water-users opt to use beaches in False Bay that are covered by the programme and when they arrive are sure to check the Shark Spotters flag and noticeboards to find out about the latest shark sightings and spotting conditions. But what if you have to travel from far to get to your favourite surf spot and when you arrive you see that the red flag is flying, indicating a high shark alert? Or what if you want to know whether the shark exclusion barrier has been deployed at Fish Hoek before you venture down to the beach? It was questions such as these that prompted the development of the mobile app to provide real-time information, enabling us to render a more efficient and effective service to the community.
The Shark Spotter app provides water-users with all the latest shark safety information at the beaches where we operate, including which flag is currently flying and why (such as poor spotting conditions due to cloud cover), the latest shark sightings at that beach, water temperature and lunar phase, and whether or not the shark exclusion barrier at Fish Hoek has been deployed. It is updated by the 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 risk when entering the water. The app also provides users with safety tips to reduce their risk of encountering a shark, as well as information about shark activity around Cape Town and the different aspects of the Shark Spotters programme.
The Shark Spotters programme in Cape Town, South Africa, improves beach safety through both shark warnings and emergency assistance in the event of a shark incident. The programme contributes to research on shark ecology and behaviour, raises public awareness about shark-related issues, and provides employment opportunities and skills development for spotters.