By John Ensor •
Published: 07 Nov 2023 • 10:32
Photo: Beach safety conference, Andratx.
Can one imagine summer without the vigilant eyes of lifeguards? At a beach safety conference in the Balearic Islands, the spotlight was on those who ensure that the coastline stays safe for everone.
Sebastia Sureda, the General Director of Emergencies and Interior, heralded the conclusion of the 2023 beach season at the XXXI Technical Conference on Beach Safety, hosted by Andratx City Hall.
The conference shed light on the latest beach report. Remarkably, the count of rescued drowning victims dropped to 24 this year, a sign of the swift action by vigilant surveillance services. This impressive decrease – 36.8 per cent less than in 2022 and 40 per cent from 2021 – illustrates the effectiveness of the safety regulations implemented since 2005. ‘Record’ figures have been touted by Joan Pol, Head of Emergency Service 112, with 776 lives saved since the Beach Safety Regulation.
Despite an ideal swimming season with above-average temperatures and minimal stormy days, serious incidents saw a decline. The beaches reached peak capacity, but thanks to extended service hours and vigilant surveillance, incidents only totalled 671 (411 in Mallorca, 103 in Menorca, 119 in Ibiza and 38 in Formentera), compared to 762 the previous year.
The mortality rate also saw a decline, with 36 reported deaths across the islands, 10 fewer than in 2022. Notably, there were seven fewer deaths in the sand compared to last year. The report also highlights the sustained number of individuals transferred to care centres, totalling 540.
In 2023, there were nearly 1,291 aquatic interventions, a significant increase of 28 per cent over last year. Notably, the number of jellyfish stings incidents was 25,615. These statistics underscore the proactive work by public services in maintaining user safety, with a total of 129,087 self-protection actions carried out, focusing on preventing accidents in high-risk areas and managing the human load on the beaches effectively
The conference showcased an innovative rescue drone demonstration by General Drones, a Spanish company enhancing the capabilities of lifeguard teams with cutting-edge technology. These drones bolster the existing rescue infrastructure, ensuring a safer beach experience.
The General Directorate of Emergencies and Interior has introduced improvements to the Safebeach web application for the 2020 season. The app now features emergency coordination notifications and automatic reporting, allowing for more effective beach management and enhancements in safety. The Safebeach app is part of an integrated system, including offering real-time information on beach conditions to locals and tourists alike.
The measures and technologies implemented have fostered an ever-safer beachgoing experience, proving the Balearic Islands’ commitment to public safety and the invaluable role of lifeguards.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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