Beach goers warned about spring tide dangers

Just how far out the spring low tide moves can be seen from this photo taken at Richards Bay's Alkantstrand on Thursday morning. The spring high tide will rise to the opposite extreme – meaning the current will be flowing extremely fast between high and low tides PHOTO: Dave Savides

THE National Sea Rescue Institute is urging the public to be extra cautious at beaches and along the coastline over the next few days as the full moon spring tide, which peaked on Wednesday, will cause stronger than normal rip currents around the coast.

Bigger waves over the Easter weekend, combined with the spring tide, will make the rip currents more dangerous than usual.

Spring tide happens twice every month, at full moon and at new moon.

Spring tides bring a higher than normal high tide and a lower than normal low tide, causing stronger rip currents for a few days leading up to the full moon, peaking on the day of the full moon and lasting for a few days after full moon.


Bathers are at risk of being swept out to sea by rip currents while swimming or wading in water along the beach. Even bathers wading in shallow water who find themselves trapped in a rip current that forms suddenly are at risk of being swept out to sea.


• Bathers caught in a rip current should not panic. Simply stay afloat and don’t try to swim against the current as it will exhaust you. Let the current sweep you out to sea and at your first opportunity swim parallel to the beach until you are free of the current and then use the incoming waves to get back to shore.

• Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and obey their instructions. Only swim within the safe swimming zones between their red and yellow flags.

• Children should have responsible adult supervision at all times around coastal and inland waters and at swimming pools.

• Anglers fishing along the shoreline, particularly along rocks, are at greatest risk during the spring tide.

• Anglers should not turn their backs to the sea and should be vigilant and cautious of the wave action at all times while fishing.


Amy Jenkins

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