Witsand slipway is a launch site for divers boats around the Cape Peninsula and False Bay. It's also known as Soetwater slipway after the resort nearby, and Crayfish factory after the abandoned rock lobster processing facility at the point just to the west. It's mostly used by divers in summer, when the south easterly wind makes diving on the False Bay side of the peninsula unpleasant.
This slipway provides public access for launching boats with seaworthiness certificates and licensed skippers. There does not appear to be any control over launching.
- 1 Main gate: S34°10.405' E018°20.536'
- 2 Witsand slipway and boarding jetty: S34°10.692' E018°20.684'
About halfway between Kommetjie and Scarborough.
About (distance)km from central Cape Town by road.
The slipway is extremely exposed to swell from the south west, but as it is only used by divers when the south-west swell is low, and the wind is light or from the east, this is not normally a problem. The water is shallow at low tide, and at spring low may be too shallow for larger boats, particularly if there is any swell from the south west, which may break at the slip in these conditions. The approaches are over a long stretch of shallow sand bottom, but there are outcrops of reef to the sides which must be avoided at low water.
About twice a year the roads are closed due to cycle and road running events. when this happens don't bother to try to get to Scarborough. Diving is not planned for those occasions even if the weather is perfect.
Dives may well be planned and take place in fairly strong south easterly winds, but the boat will be in the lee of the land and the sea may be flat. Diving is often good in these conditions.
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no security whatsoever unless you organise a temporary guard. This is recommended as the slipway is out of the way and used by commercial ski-boat fishermen, some of whom may not have the respect for your property you may wish for. Parking for trailers is moderate but may sometimes be filled. This facility is seldom used by divers, as there are not many popular sites in this area. Parking for vehicles without trailers is also fairly extensive. The parking near the slipway is paved and in good condition.
The slipway is a concrete ramp and is wide and in good condition. The access road turning area and part of the parking area is paved. There is a small concrete jetty to the side of the slipway ramp where boats can pick up and drop off passengers and crew. In very good conditions it is possible to tie up to load and wait for access, but usually the boat will only be alongside for a very short time to get on or off, which should be done without wasting any time. The water at the slipway is shallow and there may be a tidal restriction to launching and recovery for larger boats.
There are no public toilets or any other facilities. There are only sand dunes and beach to the east, and rocks to the west.
If there is a launching fee it is not often levied as there is normally no-one in attendance
From the airport follow the N2 south-west towards Cape Town. Turn on to the M3 south and follow it to the end. Turn right onto Steenberg Road (M42) and then left onto Ou Kaapse Weg (M64). Follow the road over the mountain for about 11 kilometres. At the second traffic light turn right into Kommetjie Road (M65) and follow this road all the way through Kommetjie and along the mountainside until you reach the turnoff to Soetwater at the crossroads. Turn right and then left to the slipway when you can see the gates to the Soetwater resort. There is a short cut which bypasses the residential area at Kommetjie, but it is not well signposted. This is a left turn after you pass the small industrial area. The turnoff is to the left at a T-junction into the M65, with a small traffic island at the junction. This road goes straight to Soetwater. From Hout Bay follow Chapman's Peak Drive (M6) (if it is open) onto Ou Kaapse Weg (M64) then use the directions as outlined above.
Security varies depending on whether the commecial fishermen are using the slip.