The Canary Islands would need 500 more lifeguards to comply with the decree on safety measures on beaches


Sebastián Quintana on the beach of La Laja, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Sebastián Quintana on the beach of La Laja, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
LP / DLP

Canary Islands would need between 500 and 700 more lifeguards in their bathing areas to comply with Decree 116/2018, of July 30, which regulates measures for the application of standards and instructions for human safety and for the coordination of ordinary emergencies and civil protection in beaches and other maritime bathing areas of the Autonomous Community of the Canary Islands, estimates the journalist expert in outreach for the prevention of drowning and promoter of the Canarias platform, 1,500 Kilometers of Coast, Sebastian Quintana.

In Quintana’s opinion, the judgment of July 22 of the Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC) that dismisses the appeal filed by the Canary Federation of Municipalities (FECAM), which considered the invasion of competences by the autonomous government to regulate safety on beaches and other bathing areas, “supposes a transcendental step to guarantee the physical integrity of thousands of users and reinforces the Canarias brand as a safe tourist destination “.

The disseminator recalls that, “fair, the main obstacle that generated the complaint and rejection of the FECAM to the decree was the investment chapter, since the norm states that the municipalities must have a Safety and Rescue Plan, which will determine the number of lifeguards that each beach, natural pool or puddle must have according to risk criteria established in the regulation itself “.

And this is equivalent, says Santana, “to the fact that the municipalities must have, yes or yes, an annual budget chapter for the prevention and safety of the more than 600 points of beaches and bathing areas,” he added.

However, it recognizes that although since the decree was approved in 2018 “many local corporations have made a significant economic effort to adapt to the norm, the truth is that currently there are Canarian municipalities that this chapter is minimally endowed in their budgets ”.

Quintana denounced in July 2019 “the more than possible paralysis of the Decree on Safety Measures in Beaches and Bathing Areas of our Autonomous Community, one year after being approved by the Parliament of the Canary Islands, after the filing of the aforementioned appeal by the FECAM ”. In this sense, the expert affirms that this “is a standard created with the aim of regulating a new security policy through the adoption of prevention, information, surveillance, planning and intervention measures on the coast.”

Precisely, this regulation contemplates the necessary coordination between the Government of the Canary Islands and the municipalities of ordinary emergencies and Civil Protection on the beaches and other maritime bathing areas of the Archipelago.

Prevention is not an expense, it is an investment

Beyond economic criteria, there is an unquestionable reality, Quintana emphasizes: “The leading cause of death by accident in the Canary Islands is drowning. With an annual average of fifty deaths and up to 250 more people treated by aquatic accidents, our archipelago has to bet on making ours an Aqua-Protected area, as approved by the Parliament of the Canary Islands last July “.

The items for aquatic safety and, de facto, for prevention, “are not an expense, they are an investment that will make the Canary Islands an even safer destination, both for tourists and residents.”

Aware of the difficulties that some municipalities will encounter in assuming the budget in terms of security on the coast, Quintana relies on the periodic collaboration of other supra-municipal institutions to guarantee compliance with this rule over time.

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