New Year’s Day is traditionally a day for families to flock to Nelson Mandela Bay’s many beautiful beaches and this year saw a huge influx of holidaymakers doing just that.
This is the time of the year when few people are at work, allowing them to travel to the beach to enjoy a day out.
However, it is no secret festivities drawing a large crowd often are marred by traffic congestion, accidents, missing children, alcohol abuse and even violence.
We saw this on the night of the opening of the season on December 16 when schoolboy Curtley Alexander was stabbed to death on one of the city’s Blue Flag beaches.
Although swift police work led to the arrest of six suspects who are now awaiting trial, his grieving family and friends must surely be starting 2018 with heavy hearts.
This tragic incident cast a shadow on our beaches right at the start of the holiday season, but we must be aware that wherever there is a large group of people out for a good time there will also be a chance for a criminal element to creep in.
That is why it was so heartening to see such a strong police presence in Humewood and Summerstrand in particular on Monday.
Fortunately, and at least in part due to their hard work, this week’s celebrations seem to have gone relatively smoothly.
And it is not just the police who we must thank, but also the large numbers of lifeguards, volunteers and municipal cleaners who performed their often-thankless job for the benefit of the city at large.
SAPS and metro police officers had their hands full, but the traffic officers on point duty at key points reportedly did their job superbly.
Extra temporary ablution facilities and an early morning clean-up crew meant that most of the debris was speedily removed.
Their job could not have been made easier by the strong winds of more than 50km/h, whipping up litter along with sand and waves.
Well done to all.