At the start of the 2018/19 South African Blue Flag season, the Wildlife & Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) announced that 46 beaches across the country had been awarded the well-recognised accreditation.
At 30, the Western Cape hosts the highest total of Blue Flag beaches, with Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape beaches achieving 9 and 7 Blue Flags, respectively.
Blue Flag status is one that most South Africans might recognise but ever wondered what it actually means?
The initiative began in Europe as a school-based project in 1987 and has since been transformed into a global eco-label project which most people use as a guide to the best beaches regardless of where in the world they find themselves.
Currently, the status is used in 47 countries which translates to more than 4 0000 Blue Flag sites (which includes beaches, marinas and even boats) worldwide.
Also see: 'A child can drown in as little as 2.5 cms of water': How to stay safe at the beach this summer
More than an eco-label
Beyond the environmental, the Flag status also guarantees safety.
According to WESSA, the Blue Flag programme representatives in South Africa, a beach must meet precise standards - "33 different criteria" - to be awarded the accreditation, including: "water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services."
From qualified lifeguards to first aid equipment to an in case of emergency plan, and more, beachgoers would be happy to know that the Blue Flag symbol can be used as a guide to the safest beaches in the country.
Here's a look at the list by province
- Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay
- Humewood Beach, Humewood, Port Elizabeth
- King's Beach, Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth
- Hobie Beach, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth
- Hamburg Beach, Hamburg
- Kariega Beach, Kenton-on-Sea
- Kelly's Beach, Port Alfred
- Marina Beach, Southbroom
- Trafalgar Beach, Trafalgar
- Lucien Beach, Margate
- Southport Beach, Southport
- Umzumbe Beach, Umzumbe
- Ramsgate Beach in Ramsgate
- Hibberdene Beach, Hibberdene
- Westbrook Beach, Westbrook
- uShaka Beach, Point Waterfront
- Silwerstroomstrand, Atlantis
- Clifton 4th Beach, Clifton
- Camps Bay Beach, Camps Bay
- Llandudno Beach, Llandudno
- Muizenberg Beach, Muizenberg
- Strandfontein Beach, Strandfontein
- Mnandi Beach, Strandfontein
- Bikini Beach, Gordons Bay
- Melkbosstrand Beach, Melkbosstrand
- Fish Hoek Beach, Fish Hoek
- Kleinmond Beach, Kleinmond
- Hawston Beach, Hawston
- Grotto Beach, Hermanus
- Castle Beach, Pearly Beach
- Struisbaai Beach, Struisbaai
- Witsand Beach, Witsand
- Preekstoel Beach, Still Bay
- Lappiesbaai Beach, Still Bay
- Jongensfontein Beach, Jongensfontein
- Gouritzmond, Gouritsmond
- Santos Beach, Santos Bay, Mossel Bay
- De Bakke, Santos Bay, Mossel Bay
- Hartenbos Beach, Hartenbos
- Klein Brak Beach, Little Brak River
- Buffalo Bay Beach, Knysna
- Brenton Beach, Brenton-on-sea
- Robberg 5 Beach, Plettenberg Bay
- Keurbooms Beach, Keurboomstrand
- Nature's Valley Beach, Nature's Valley
- Lookout Beach, Plettenberg Bay
- The Dunes Beach, Keurboomstrand
- Singing Kettle Beach, Plettenberg Bay
- Struisbaai Beach, Struisbaai
*See the original list here.
The National Sea Rescue Institute shares beach safety tips
And while Blue Flag beaches come with a guarantee of safety and quality, when talking beach and water safety, too much is never enough says the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
"Every year we do our best to ensure that everyone who uses the beach is armed with as much information as possible when it comes to water safety," advises NSRI Spokesman Craig Lambinon.
Here are some NSRI tips to bear in mind when visiting the beach with your family:
Stay close to lifeguards
Choose a beach where lifeguards are on duty, and while you are there, always listen to the lifeguard and take their advice.
Swim between the flags
When there are lifeguards on duty, they will put up flags over a short distance demarcating the area in which swimmers should swim. Lifeguards are always watching the swimmers between these flags.
Don't drink and swim
Consuming alcohol before you dive in could affect your ability to swim properly and you could end up in a difficult situation in the water.
For parents - get off your phone
If you are supervising children, keep your eyes on them at all times. Don't get distracted and drawn into your phone.
Call for help
Do not go into the water to rescue someone unless you are trained and have floatation. For those not trained in rescue, call for help (Sea Rescue on 112) and throw something that floats to the person in distress.
For more guidance on water and beach safety visit: www.nsri.org.za.
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