/ 30 August 2023

NSRI urges caution as rare Super Blue Moon sets in

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A full moon rises behind Castel del Monte in Andria, Puglia, Italy, on August 29, 2023. The full moon, which will also be visible on August 30 and 31, will be the 2023 Blue Moon because it is the second full moon in a month. Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has urged South Africans to be cautious around the country’s coastline during the full spring tide, which has already begun, and peaks during the full moon period on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Blue Moon over this time – a rare occurrence of a second full moon in one month – will be a super moon, meaning it is closer to earth than normal. This is the third of four super moons in a row and will be the biggest (closest to the earth) full super moon of 2023.

The event coincides with Saturn also in her planetary position closest to the earth for 2023.

This particular phenomenon is not expected again until 2037.

As is normal, the full moon brings the spring tide – where high tide is higher than normal and low tide is lower than normal. Spring tides occur at full moon and at new moon every month.

“Spring tide can have an increased effect on the strength of rip currents and caution is advised,” the NSRI said in a statement.

It appealed to bathers, coastal hikers, shoreline anglers, boaters, sailors, paddlers and the maritime community to be cautious around coastlines during the super moon’s spring tide.

“Already you will have noticed the growing spring tide’s high tide higher than normal and the growing spring tide’s low tide lower than normal – building gradually over the past few days.

“The full affect of this Super Moon Blue Moon Spring Tide peaks during the full moon period over 30 and 31 August and then gradually begins to decline over the next few days into the new week.

“Together with winter rough sea conditions that are prevailing around our coastline with cold fronts that have past in recent days and weeks, and with storms prevailing deep sea off the South African coastline – NSRI are appealing to the public around our coastline to be cautious during this spring tide.”