The Overstrand Municipality is exceptionally proud that four of its beaches – Grotto, Hawston, Kleinmond and Castle Beach (Pearly Beach) are among the 45 South African beaches that have been accredited this year to display the Blue Flag. These beaches have earned Blue Flag status for the upcoming 2019/20 holiday season which opens officially on 1 December 2019.
The Municipality was further granted Pilot Blue Flag status for Onrus Beach. Pilot beaches are not required to comply with all Blue Flag criteria yet, but must work towards meeting fundamental elements like water quality standards within a two-year period to stand a chance to ultimately acquire full Blue Flag status.
Blue Flag status is awarded seasonally and municipalities must apply annually to renew the status of their beaches. In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA (the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) and the programme offers many benefits: Improved tourism facilities, enhanced management of coastal ecosystems, educational awareness programmes and excellent water-quality standards and facilities.
Criteria for the Blue Flag programme stipulates that water samples are taken at regular intervals and that an independent laboratory should be responsible for testing all sea water samples.
The tender for lifeguard services on Overstrand beaches this year was awarded to Overstrand Community Lifeguards, who will be on all Blue Flag beaches daily from 09:00 until 18:00 – on Grotto Beach from 30 November – 31 March; on Kleinmond Main Beach and Hawston Beach from 30 November – 12 January; and on Castle Beach from 13 December – 12 January. Other beaches in the Hermanus and Kleinmond areas (as well as swimming pools) will have lifeguards on duty from 2 December – 31 January, and in the Gansbaai area from 13 December – 5 January.