Hefty fines for beachgoers disrespecting red flags

in Algarve · 13-07-2017 13:55:00 · 0 Comments

Maritime police in the Algarve have pledged to crack down heavily on beachgoers disobeying flags meant to keep bathers out of the sea, by issuing hefty fines to transgressors, in a bid to keep the ever-swelling throngs of visitors to the region in check.

Fines will reportedly vary between €55 and €250 and, the Maritime police said, “There is no excuse” for people to ignore a red flag.
Even though red flag days are few and far between during summer in southern Portugal, there are days when the notorious ‘Sueste’ – a meteorological phenomenon caused by strong winds that travel up from the Straits of Gibraltar, causing rough seas and strong undercurrents right up to the Portuguese coast – affects the Algarve.
However, the Sueste, or Levante, as it is also known, is seen favourably as it also brings warmer waters from the Mediterranean with it, despite causing a few days of tumultuous tides.
Coelho Dias, spokesperson for the Coast Guard, told newspaper Jornal de Notícias that last year, seven people were fined during beach season for disrespecting a red flag.
The head of the Southern Maritime Authority, Corte Lopes, elaborated this point, telling the newspaper “disrespecting a red flag and causing a rescue, jeopardises resources that could be needed in an emergency.”
He added that this year six people have been pulled from the sea off the Algarve on days when red flags were hoisted, even though most people are fully aware they should never ignore a red flag or life guards’ orders.
“If people are warned and ignore it, then we need to be uncompromising”, he stressed, reiterating that in such cases “there is no reason to be forgiven.”
Cortes Lopes stressed that the Maritime Police will be paying special attention to this and other transgressions being committed on the Algarve’s beaches which, at this time of year, can reach close to bursting point.


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