Blue Flag Beach - The Traveller


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Monday, February 13, 2023

Blue Flag Beach

Blue Flag Beach

Do you want to know what a blue flag beach is? It is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education which indicates that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator has fulfilled the standards. Blue Flag also refers to a trademark that FEE owns. In this regard, you should know that FEE is a non-governmental organization that consists of 65 organizations in 77 member nations.

The criteria of FEE's Blue Flag come with the following:

  • Standards for quality, safety, environmental education, and information,
  • The provision of services and
  • General environmental management criteria.

If any beach, marine, and boating tourism operators have a blue flag, it indicates that they also follow high-quality and environmental standards. These beaches & marinas of FEE member countries get certificates annually. According to FEE, these are awards. The announcement of these awards takes place every year on 5 June for Europe, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, and the nations which belong to similar geographic locations. On 1st November each year, the announcement of the award takes place in the Caribbean, New Zealand, South Africa, and other nations in the southern hemisphere.

The incorporation of the water quality standards is connected to the EC Water Framework Directive in the European Union. As of 2016, Spain has the most number of blue flag beaches than other nations per year since the giving the awards started in 1987.


It was created as a pilot scheme in 1985 in France from the Office of the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe.

French coastal municipalities got the Blue Flag awards because these meet all standards of sewage treatment and bathing water quality. In 1985, eleven French municipalities got this award.

Blue Flag on the European Community Level in 1987:

The European Commission developed the European Community activities in 1987, this is why it was called the "European Year of the Environment." This commission got the Blue Flag concept from the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe. Then, they agreed to regard this as one of the "European Year of the Environment" activities in the Community.

The programme was developed to add other areas of environmental management like waste management and coastal planning and protection. Moreover, Marines, beaches, became also eligible for this award. There are 244 beaches and 208 marinas, which got Blue Flag awards in 1987.

Success: The number of these awards is increasing per year. So, over the years, the criteria have become more strict. For instance, it began using the restrictive guideline values as imperative criteria in the EEC Bathing Water Directive in 1992. And from this year, it was decided that the blue flag criteria will be the same for all the participating countries.

Outside the European Union:

Present program:

More than 4,154 beaches and marinas received these awards worldwide in 2015. We have given here the names of the forty-seven nations which join this Programme, including:

Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Serbia, Sint Marteen, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, US Virgin Islands, and Wales.

Blue Flag Beach Criteria:

It was the year 2001 when FEEE rules were changed. As per this new rule, they decided to allow non-European national organizations sharing the goals of FEEE, becoming members, and changed its previous name by dropping Europe from its name, becoming the Foundation for Environmental Education. A few authorities and organizations outside the Union of Europe have joined FEE. It was the year 2001 when South Africa and Caribbean countries joined. Foundation for Environmental Education has been cooperating with UNEP and UN WTO to extend it outside Europe. In this regard, you should know that the FEE members are South Africa, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, and four countries in the Caribbean region. While Brazil & Aruba are in the Programme's pilot phase, countries like Jordan, Macedonia, Turks & Caicos Islands, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates have started implementing this Programme.

Environmental education and information:

  • A beach has to give information about coastal zone ecosystems & the natural, sensitive areas in the coastal zone.
  • A blue flag beach should give information about bathing water quality.
  • It needs to display Blue Flag Programme information.
  • The code of conduct for the beach area needs to be visible to the public. Besides, if people request to know about the laws governing the beach use, these should be available. People must get the opportunity to do at least five environmental education activities.

Water Quality:

  • Meet the standards for bathing water quality. 
  • Any industrial or sewage-related discharges should not affect the beach area. 
  • It should monitor the health of coral reefs located in the beach's vicinity. 
  • Beaches must have all the necessary things for sewage treatment and effluent quality.

Environmental Management:

  • It is essential to set up a beach management committee to institute environmental management systems. In addition, it is necessary to conduct beach facilities' regular environmental audits. 
  • Beaches need to comply with the regulations that affect the beach's location and operations such as coastal zone planning and environmental legislation. 
  • The beach should be clean. 
  • Adequate numbers of waste disposal bins should be present on the beach. These need to be maintained and emptied daily. 
  • Beaches should have facilities to receive recyclable waste materials. 
  • These have clean, sanitary facilities with controlled sewage disposal. 
  • Ensure that no unauthorized camping or driving and no dumping are seen on these beaches. 
  • Regulations related to the domestic animals on the beach must be followed strictly. 
  • It is necessary to maintain the beach's buildings and equipment.

Safety and Services:

  • People should have access to many lifesaving equipments or be able to take help from lifeguards. 
  • Beaches should have First aid equipment. 
  • The presence of management of different users and uses of the beach is necessary to avoid accidents & conflicts. 
  • There should be an emergency plan to manage pollution safety risks. 
  • The beach area needs to be patrolled. 
  • Enough supply of drinking water on the beach is required. 
  • Each municipality should have access to a minimum of one Blue Flag beach. There must be toilet facilities for disabled people. 
  • It must come with a beach map showing all the facilities.

Top Blue Flag Beaches:

These are a few blue Flag beaches across the world. Let's see what these are and about their facilities.

Thassos, Greece:

Whenever it's come to discuss the most beautiful blue flag beaches, this blue flag beach Greece is the one that comes to our mind. As we already know, Greece is God's own country, with plenty of beautiful landscapes & beaches. There are about 1,000 islands that are adorned with the safest beach globally. While it is hard to select any particular beach, if you really want to pick one, it is better to go with Thassos, part of the North Aegean Sea. The cool coves and the bluest of waters are major reasons due to which you should visit this beach.

Praia da Rocha Baixinha, Portugal:

While it catches visitors' attention with its clean water, the beach is less crowded than others. Remember that this country is famous for being the best place as a surfing paradise because of the large waves. You will find a few beaches in Portugal that will definitely mesmerise you. Beach lovers will be astonished visiting the Praia da Rocha Baixinha (Portuguese Low Rock Beach) or Praia dos Tomates (Tomatoes Beach) in the Algarve area. The broad beach line offers ample space, privacy, as well as less-crowded spots. You can enjoy the incredible nightlife in pubs and clubs to make your evenings more exciting.

Kaputaş, Turkey:

The beauty of Kaputaş's azure waters and white sands draw the attention of most visitors and make the beach one of the best and most beautiful blue flag beaches globally. FEE observed the wonderful beaches of Turkey and put this one in the rankings. So, to get the relaxed vibes, you can definitely come here. The azure waters and white sands makes the beach breathtakingly beautiful.

Palombaggia, France:

The crystal-white & fine sand with clear turquoise waters makes this beach mind-grabbing. The country is popular for its romantic Parisian getaway. If you think this nation's capital is the only place to visit here, then you need to have a look at the mind-blowing beaches of the country. You can choose Corsica as your base due to the heavenly beaches; among these, a few are a little wild, while the other ones offer low-key shorelines. We recommend visiting the Palombaggia which becomes mesmerized due to the gorgeous crystal-white sand & clear turquoise waters.

Caló des Moro, Spain:

The eye-catching shores of this blue flag beach in Spain will definitely leave a mark in your mind. This nation has become the favorite beach destination for most people because it includes a lot of blue flag beaches. Remember that Barcelona, Ibiza, and Formentera are not the only ones which make Spain famous because it is also popular for its serene and beautiful beaches. The breathtaking view of Caló des Moro beach, lying on Mallorca island will definitely mesmerize you.

Spotorno, Italy:

The charming sceneries of the Liguria region make the beach popular. Generally, when we think of this country, the first thing that comes to our mind is food & architecture. But if you come here or plan to visit Italy, you should not miss coming to this beach. Choosing the most beautiful blue flag beach in Italy is never easy. However, we still recommend you visit Spotorno in the region of Liguria. It is famous for its charming views that can be found only in Italy.

The Bottom Line:

In this article, we have given enough information regarding the blue flag beach. You can see the facilities of these beaches, the criteria that these beaches need to meet to get the blue flag award, etc. However, you can visit these above-mentioned top six blue flag beaches on your vacation.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What does it mean when a beach is Blue Flag?

The term blue flag indicates that jellyfish, sharks, fish, stingrays, or other marine life have been spotted on a certain beach. Once a lifeguard notices any dangerous animal in the water or a rip current, he needs to call a supervisor to display the red "No Swimming" flag. It means that swimmers need to get out of the water.

Q. Which country has Blue Flag beach?

You should know that FEE, the abbreviation of Foundation for Environmental Education, is an international voluntary programme. It wants beaches to abide by strict water quality criteria, environmental management, accessibility, and education. Spain is the nation having the most Blue Flag beaches.

Q. Can you swim in Blue Flag beaches?

Beaches that got Blue Flag awards have been certified as these fulfil the necessary standards. The beaches are guaranteed to remain clean & adequately maintained. Compared to the non-Blue Flag beaches, these have better accessibility and offer more safe swimming chances.

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