The measure aims to “safeguard human life at sea, provide assistance and maintain the safety” of vessels and people who visit the cave.

The document, published on the National Maritime Authority's website and signed by the captain of the port of Portimão, Eduardo Godinho, states that the measure covers the beaches of Vale Centeanes, Carvalho, Benagil, Marinha, Barranquinho and Albandeira, all in Lagoa, in the district of Faro.

According to the notice, the measure - which excludes the prohibition in case of relief and emergency - will remain in force “until mechanisms are created that allow for controlling the flow of these vessels in the water adjacent to these beaches”.

The captain of the port of Portimão justifies the measure by recalling that the coastline in this area is mostly made up of cliffs, which are “permanently or periodically” exposed to the action of the sea.

As it is not possible to predict the occurrence of possible landslides and, having seen an exponential increase in tourist activities in recent years, this is a way of safeguarding the safety of bathers who flock there, he notes.

According to Eduardo Godinho, those who rent out this equipment end up going to small beaches located in risky areas, without any control to limit the number of people who visit these beaches.

The captain added that visitors to the Benagil cave on boards or in kayaks “largely” exceed the number of boat users in the area, the majority of whom are private individuals or customers of other companies.

The definition of access conditions to the Benagil cave and the need to define a maximum limit on human carrying capacity in the area has already led to the creation of a working group made up of several entities.

The group met for the first time last Wednesday, and the next meeting should take place in the second half of October, according to the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR).

Located next to Benagil beach, in Lagoa, the cave is one of the main tourist attractions in the Algarve.