Shark spotters to launch beach app

If you want to know – without leaving your home or office – when the last shark was spotted, what flag is currently flying, if the shark exclusion net is in the water, if whales have been seen recently – or simply what the surf is like: then the Shark Spotter’s app is going to make your day.

The Shark Spotters team wants to help by providing you with all this information, and more, right at your fingertips in a handy mobile application – absolutely free, starting this September.

The team has been crowdfunding for the creation of the app, calling on all their supporters and people who will benefit from the app to donate whatever amount possible.

An anonymous donor has given a generous R10 000, and contributor Peter Eisenegger gave R3 084 – but the rest has been raised by the cumulation of many people, offering smaller amounts – and lots of moral support.

R60 000 is needed, in total, to-wards the development costs as well funds for hosting the app on the app store, on an annual basis.

The app is based with the water user in mind, and aims to serve as a single point of reference for water user safety, education and shark conservation: for all beaches monitored by the Shark Spotters.

The team has already received a generous donation from BulkSMS of R30 000 to purchase cellphones and data so that spotters can update the app in real time, directly from the beaches.

Richard Le Mesurier from Glowworm Software has donated his time to create a Beta version of the app, but the team needs to raise funds to complete the app and add all the great features that will make it a “must-have” for all beach goers in Cape Town.

The deadline for Version 1.0 of the app to be available to the public is the end of September, so the app will be splashed out for the start of the summer season.

Shark Spotters started out as a community initiative 12 years ago.

“We feel that this app will benefit the community even more by consolidating all this useful information into one user friendly application. Ultimately the app will be free of charge to anyone who wants to download it, we just need to get it there,” said Sarah Waries, Shark Spotters project manager.

“We operate on eight beaches in Cape Town, mostly in False Bay where we have the highest spatial overlap between sharks and people,” Ms Waries said.

“We are in a brilliant position to give our supporters this app – the idea came from their continual requests for information on these various topics,” she said.

Shark Spotters is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation. Donations to Shark Spotters result in tax benefits for donors in terms of and subject to the limitations prescribed in Section 18A of the Income Tax Act. For more information email sarah@sharkspotters.org.za

For details on the app’s fund-raising success and to donate, visit https://www.backabuddy.co.za/shark-spotters-mobile-application