Blue Flag Beaches

South Coast Blue Flag Beaches.

The award of a Blue Flag beach is based on compliance with 32 criteria covering the aspects of:
1) Environmental Education and Information
2) Water Quality
3) Environmental Management
4) Safety and Services

All Blue Flags are only awarded for one season at a time.
If some of the imperative criteria are not fulfilled during the season or the conditions change, the Blue Flag will be withdrawn.

Of the twenty six (26) blue flag beaches in South Africa, the lower south coast has four (4).

Margate, Ramsgate, Marina Beach/San Lameer and Trafalgar.

There are also several pilot status beaches. A beach designated Pilot Status could have had Blue Flag status and has been down-graded due to environmental or other issues which don’t comply with the very strict Blue Flag Criteria or it may be a new applicant in the process of upgrading or on a probationary period prior to full Blue Flag status. These are Hibberdene, Lucien, Uvongo and Port Edward.

Blue Flag Beach Criteria.
The Blue Flag programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education). The Blue Flag programme was started in France in 1985. It has been operating in Europe since 1987 and in areas outside of Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined. Today, Blue Flag has become a truly global programme with an ever-increasing number of countries participating in the programme.
The Blue Flag programme promotes sustainable development in freshwater and marine areas. It challenges local authorities and beach operators to achieve high standards in the four categories of: water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety. Over the years, the Blue Flag has become a highly respected and recognised eco-label working to bring together the tourism and environmental sectors at local, regional and national levels.

Information about the Blue Flag must be displayed  
Environmental education activities must be offered and promoted to beach users
Information about bathing water quality must be displayed
Information relating to local eco-systems and environmental phenomena must be displayed
A map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed
A code of conduct that reflects appropriate laws governing the use of the beach and surrounding areas must be displayed

The beach must fully comply with the water quality sampling and frequency requirements
The beach must fully comply with the standards and requirements for water quality analysis
No industrial, waste-water or sewage-related discharges should affect the beach area
The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the microbiological parameter faecal coli bacteria (E.coli) and intestinal enterococci/streptococci
The beach must comply with the Blue Flag requirements for the following physical and chemical parameters

The local authority/beach operator should establish a beach management committee
The local authority/beach operator must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach
The beach must be clean
Algae vegetation or natural debris should be left on the beach
Waste disposal bins/containers must be available at the beach in adequate numbers and they must be regularly maintained
Facilities for the separation of recyclable waste materials should be available at the beach
An adequate number of toilet or restroom facilities must be provided
The toilet or restroom facilities must be kept clean
The toilet or restroom facilities must have controlled sewage disposal
On the beach there will be no unauthorised camping or driving and no dumping
Access to the beach by dogs and other domestic animals must be strictly controlled
All buildings and beach equipment must be properly maintained
Coral reefs in the vicinity of the beach must be monitored
A sustainable means of transportation should be promoted in the beach area

An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach
First aid equipment must be available on the beach
Emergency plans to cope with pollution risks must be in place
There must be management of different users and uses of the beach so as to prevent conflicts and accidents
There must be safety measures in place to protect users of the beach
A supply of drinking water should be available at the beach
At least one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have access and facilities provided for the physically disabled