Mixed reaction to the City’s proposed recreational water use by-law

MATTHEW HIRSCH

There has been a mixed reaction to the City’s proposed recreational water use by-law.

The City of Cape Town is planning on implementing a new by-law which they hope will make water sports safer.

The matter was discussed at Sub-council 16 this month and it is expected to be voted on at full council after a public participation process.

A date has not yet been set.

Johan Van der Merwe, the mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, said the new Water Use by-law will ensure compliance with national leislation relating to boating safety on inland waters and help co-ordinate the safe use of recreational water bodies (“New by-law will make warter sports safer”, Atlantic Sun, May 19).

Byron Herbert, of the Camps Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CBRRA), said the City was rushing with the implentation of the new regulations.

“Taking a cursory glance at the two water by-laws – the one relating to use of water for households and the other being use of water bodies for recreational purposes – it appears that they are creating even more avenues to prosecute people and generate fines, rather than dealing with the real issues of policing current by-laws and managing the water resource properly.”

Mr Herbert, a former lifeguard, added: “On the Recreational Water Use by-law, what I did find rather puzzling is that they appear to want to create their own rules pertaining to safety officers (generally known as lifeguards), and rather than using the national body of South African Surf Lifesaving, with their extensive knowledge and expertise, the City have the notion that they can do their own thing.

“Needless to say, there are so many regulations pertaining to so many different things, all thrown into two documents, and as a result, it’s not possible to fully understand the impact of each one, and any ramifications, which I fear is the intent.”

However, Craig Lambinon of the National Sea and Rescue Service (NSRI), said they supported the move to make water bodies safer.

However, key to the success of any campaign, he said, was an education component to encourage the use of lifejackets, kill switches, use of tracking devices together with a roll-out plan of signage advertising emergency numbers and warning of the dangers of rip currents.