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Going to the beach? Download these apps first

We’re pretty much in the thick of it as far as summer holiday madness goes. And if you live on the coast, chances are good that you’ll be visiting the beach at least once.

But before you make your way to Clifton or Muizenberg, you might want to download a few of these apps…

Shark Spotters (free – Android, iOS)

Sure, there is a flag system in place at major beaches, courtesy of the Shark Spotters team, but they have an app as well.

The Shark Spotters app delivers updates on shark sightings (as well as a recent history of shark sightings) for a number of beaches around the Peninsula. These beaches include Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Clovelly, Glencairn and Monwabisi.

It’s a little barebones otherwise, but it also includes safety tips and optional push notifications though.

Solarize: Sun Tanning Timer (free – Android)

Sun tanning can be a juggling act, as you try to balance a darker skin tone with straight-up burning yourself. Fortunately, there’s an app for that as well.

The app isn’t the most complex one around, but it seems to work well enough. You start off by specifying your skin tone and SPF for sunscreen, with the app then spitting out a timer for you (complete with alarm tone). You can however adjust the SPF level, with the timer increasing or decreasing as a result.

The developers do warn people not to rely on the timer for more than once a day when at the beach, owing to the cumulative effects of sun exposure.

UV Lens (free – Android, iOS)

Think of this as a companion of sorts to Solarize. UV Lens merely delivers a UV forecast for the day (or the next day), breaking it down by various times of day too.

UV Lens also offers a burn risk assessment, advising you of how long it takes before you start feeling the burn. So if you burn easily but enjoy the sun anyway, this is worth downloading.

First Aid by SA Red Cross (free – Android, iOS)

Knowing first aid can be a huge advantage in any situation, especially when at the beach. After all, you never know when someone will drown or a jellyfish/shark/blue bottle pops up.

So this app is definitely an important download, even though it doesn’t seem to have a specific guide for “drowning”. Anyway, it does cover unconscious people (breathing and not breathing) as well as bleeding, choking, broken bones, head injuries, heat stroke and more.

In a lovely bonus, the app also offers seven tests for various situations as well as general tips for emergencies.

Glassy Surf Report (free – Android, iOS)

One of the more popular surfing apps around, Glassy Surf Report gives you weather and surf updates on your favourite spots.

In addition to weather and waves, Glassy also delivers information about tides, sunrise/sunset, bottom type and recommended experience level.

Otherwise, the app serves as a catalogue of spots, allowing you to find underappreciated and hidden spots as well.

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More