There have been many incidents of sharks and shark activities in and around Cool Bay in the Western Cape over the years. Knowing what the history of the shark activity is will help you to stay safe when in the water.
Surfers, body boarders and tourists and locals who like to swim flock to the coast of the Western Cape every year to enjoy the cold, clear waters, the amazing surf and the beautiful weather. Unfortunately, these same waters are also enjoyed by some of the ocean’s most fearsome predators.
While humans are not generally classified as food by sharks, they often get in the way of a hungry or curious shark. Most incidents of shark attacks do not suggest that the sharks actually eat people if they have been attacked. Most human victims end up dead from wounds, but not eaten. This is probably why many people survive attacks. However, even though many shark attacks are not fatal, it is not a good idea to take a chance.
Fin of the Great White Shark
About Cool Bay
Cool Bay, also known as Kogel Bay, is a small beach that makes up a small part of Gordons Bay’s stretch of white sand beach. Gordons Bay is a small fishing town south of Cape Town. The area, also making up False Bay, is a well-known holiday destination for tourists from South Africa itself and around the world.
The sea is also well-known for the best waves for both body boarders and surfers. Because surfers go out further into the ocean than swimmers and other ocean enthusiasts, they are most at risk of shark attacks. Knowing the area and the history of the sharks and shark activity in and around Cool Bay will help you to best avoid becoming a victim of the most dangerous predators in the ocean.
Shark attacks in and around Cool Bay
The most recent shark attack was in April 2012. 20 year old body boarder David Lilienfeld was attacked on 19 April while enjoying the water in Cool Bay. According to national news providers, Lilienfeld was body boarding with his brother and friends when witnesses from the beach saw a shark several metres from the body boarders. The beach goers began screaming at the boys to warn them but it was too late. The shark circled under Lilienfeld and grabbed him and shook him, knocking him off his board.
The shark then let him go and turned another circle, allowing Lilienfeld to get his board between himself and the shark. The shark struck again, and the brave body boarder pushed against the sharks head with his board. However, the sharks strength proved too much for Lilienfeld. The shark took hold of Lilienfeld’s leg at the thigh and dragged him under the water. Lilienfeld’s leg was severed and minutes later he washed up on the rocks. His injuries were fatal and he died shortly afterwards. Lilienfeld had achieved national honours as a body boarder.
This attack has been thought to be a result of chumming in and around Cool Bay although certainly cannot be proved. Chumming has been done by a crew of documentary makers attempted to document the activities of the Great White shark. There has been a lot of controversy about chumming encouraging sharks closer into the bay and inciting attacks on humans.
Before the attack on Lilienfeld, the last recorded shark attack was in 1999. There have, however, been many instances of shark sightings and surfers and body boarders in the area have reported being watched and circled by curious sharks in the past. The city of Cape Town has stated that sharks are common in the Cool Bay area, leaving residents and tourists nervous of potential attacks in the water.
Keeping Cool Bay safe
A non-profit organisation called the Shark Spotter’s Programme has expressed interest in setting up a spotting site at Cool Bay. This would provide a level of safety for swimmers, surfers and body boarders as there will be professional spotters looking out for them.