Beach safety tips to follow on your KZN South Coast breakaway

For Immediate Attention
15 February 2024

Beach safety tips to follow on your KZN South Coast breakaway

With these warm, sunny days, there’s no better place to head than the beautiful KZN South Coast beaches. For visitors planning a well-deserved breakaway, South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE) has shared some important beach safety tips to follow.

As a top adventure destination with family-friendly offerings, the KZN South Coast is fortunate to be home to the highest number of Blue Flag beaches and the highest number of tidal pools in the province. The Blue Flag is an international certification of environmental management relating to water quality, safety, and public environmental education, and a highly sought-after certification in the tourism industry. Marine, Trafalgar, Southport, Umzumbe, and Hibberdene beaches all have Blue Flag status with pilot Blue Flag status awarded to Pennington, Rocky Bay, Preston, Umthwalume, Scottburgh, St Michael’s, and Ramsgate beaches.

There are also three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) found within the region at Trafalgar, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks – the latter two being world-renowned dive sites. Tour operators take visitors out to snorkel, free dive, scuba dive, and shark cage dive in these famous waters.

“With our Blue Flag beaches, world-class dive sites, and the highest number of tidal pools in the province, it’s unsurprising our coastline is a firm favourite with visitors,” commented Deborah Ludick Manager of Finance & CS of SCTIE. “To ensure all our breakaway visitors are kept safe while on our shores, we’re sharing vital beach safety tips supplied by the National Sea Rescue Institute [NSRI].”


Tip #1: Only swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty
The KZN South Coast has 58 golden beaches, but it’s important to note that lifeguards are only on duty at selected beaches with times varying from beach to beach. Check whether there is a lifeguard on duty before entering the water and listen to lifeguards’ advice. If you have any concerns, talk to the lifeguards about the safety of the beach you are visiting as they can instruct on possible rip tides and currents.

Tip #2: Only swim between the designated flags
All beaches monitored by lifeguards will have designated yellow and red flags to indicate where you should swim. Only swim between these flags, as this is the safest area for swimming, and wave your arm if you’re in the water and need help.

Tip #3: Never drink alcohol before swimming
Swimming while intoxicated is incredibly dangerous as you’re more inclined to take risks you normally wouldn’t. You could also pass out, or injure yourself and drown.

Tip #4: Never swim alone
It’s best to swim with a buddy so that you always have someone who can help if you need, it or if you are unable to wave down the lifeguards yourself.

Tip #5: Adult supervision is vital for children
Parents and caregivers must always supervise their children near and in the ocean. Children must be watched at all times, and adults are advised to avoid looking at their cell phones or checking social media as this may distract them. It’s important to remember that drowning is silent.

Tip #6: Call for help if you witness a bather in distress
If you see someone in difficulty in the ocean, call a lifeguard, or dial the nearest NSRI station or 112 from your phone. The NSRI launched its Pink Rescue Buoy initiative in 2017 with these lifesaving devices placed strategically at rivers, dams, and beaches. Throw a lifebuoy or other flotation device to the bather in distress until emergency help arrives. If you attempt a bystander rescue, do so only if you can swim AND have a flotation device with you. Tell someone on the beach to call 112 before you go in.

Tip #7: Beware of inflatable toys
Lightweight inflatables such as boats or lilos should not be used at the beach or on dams where currents and wind can blow them – and you – offshore. They are extremely dangerous, and should only be used at a swimming pool with adult supervision.

Tip #8: Beware of rip currents
Given the right circumstances of waves and beach profile, rip currents can move at speeds of up to 2 metres per second – faster than any of us can swim. Ranging in width from just a few meters to a hundred meters, they pull to just behind where the waves form and then lose their power. The best way to avoid rip currents is to swim only where lifeguards are on duty. If you are caught in a rip current, the most important thing to remember is not to panic. Stay calm and force yourself to relax. You are not going to win a fight with the ocean. Swim slowly and conservatively out of the current or relax and let it carry you out past the breakers until it slacks.

Tip #9: Beware of spring tides
At every full moon and every new moon, spring tides occur causing the two daily high tides to be higher than normal, and two daily low tides to be lower than normal. Spring tides may cause stronger than normal rip currents and risks may be increased at the tide change, when the high tide peak recedes towards low tide. Be especially cautious around the coastline when there are Spring tides but bear in mind every day rip currents form at different locations around the coast constantly and are always a risk factor.

Find out how to make the most of your KZN South Coast breakaway by following South Coast Tourism on Facebook; South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise on YouTube; @infosouthcoast on Twitter or Instagram; and South Coast Tourism & Investment Enterprise on LinkedIn. And click here to check out previous SCTIE press releases. Watch why KZN South Coast is a top tourism destination here.

Follow the hashtags #uncover #uncoverkznsouthcoast #uncoveradventure #kznsouthcoast




All images are complimentary for media use, provided the correct image credit is
included and the images are published in conjunction with the content supplied.

High resolution images are available upon request.
(Images: Supplied by SCTIE)

Margate Beach.

The KZN South Coast is home to the highest number of tidal pools in KZN.

Uvongo Beach.

St Mikes Beach.

Hibbedene Beach.

Trafalgar Beach.


About KZN South Coast

Known as the ‘Paradise of the Zulu Kingdom, the KZN South Coast stretches 120 kilometres from Scottburgh to Port Edward and inland to Harding. Here, the spirit of adventure can be discovered among the many cultural experiences, as well as the 35 nature trails and 58 beaches, ideal for activities like river rafting, abseiling, suspension bridges, paintball, surfing, SUP, canoeing, beach horse rides, shark cage diving and free diving. Nicknamed ‘The Golf Coast’, there are 11 golf courses on the KZN South Coast ranging in difficulty, with endless hiking, mountain biking and 4×4 trails for more rugged excursions. Promoting sustainability, the KZN South Coast has a growing Agri-tourism sector that offers world-class produce and hosts tours and excursions. The region boasts several permanently managed Blue Flag beaches and is home to some of the world’s top diving sites, Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks. The originality continues with the annual Sardine Run, coined the #GreatestShoalonEarth, which is the largest biomass migration on earth and a marvel to witness. The region’s many nature reserves are inhabited by indigenous bird and wildlife, and it holds the title of ‘smallest desert on earth’, The Red Desert in Port Edward. The KZN South Coast is a fast-emerging MICE destination which also plays host to several high-profile events including The Bike Fest, Uvukile Gospel Festival, Ugu Jazz, Ugu Film Festival and the South Coast Fever MTB & Trail Run Series.


Issued on behalf of:

South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE)

Disseminated by:
Olivia Jones Communications

For more information please contact:
Olivia Jones Communications
Cell: 083 653 1720


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