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Flags on Beaches (Spain)

Last modified: 2010-03-27 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: spain | beach | bathing condition | jellyfish warning | jellyfish: 2 (purple) |
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Sea Bathing Condition Flags

Safe bathing condition
[Sea Bathing Condition Flag, green (Spain)]
Bathing with caution
[Sea Bathing Condition Flag, yellow (Spain)]
No bathing
[Sea Bathing Condition Flag, red (Spain)]
images by Santiago Dotor, 03 Sep 1999

Flags are used on Spanish beaches as a way to state sea weather conditions. Most Spanish beaches of a relevant size/attendance display flags which can be either green, indicating safe bathing sea condition, yellow, indicating bathing with caution, or red, indicating bathing is prohibited or very dangerous. The flag is usually displayed alone on a pole, but at least in Alicante I have also seen it beside a Spanish flag (without coat-of-arms) flown from twin halyards from a pole with crossbar. The flag is changed daily and often even more frequently, as weather conditions change. This is normally managed by Red Cross or Civil Protection volunteers. The flags are usually around 1,0m x 1,5m but I guess there is no official size and other sizes are frequent. Normally there is a flagpole every 500-700 m along the beach, so that the flag is clearly visible from any point in the beach and nearby bathing areas.

Santiago Dotor, 03 Sep 1999

"Lifeguard Not On Duty" Flag

[Sea Bathing Condition Flag, yellow (Spain)]
image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 Jun 2009

Spain: Flags on beaches: Visiting Mallorca in May 2009 I found at one beach a description of life guard signals. There was one additional plain orange flag, not yet depicted on our pages. Its meaning is simply “life guard is not on duty.” I could however not verify the existence of this special flag; on that day a green flag, meaning “swimming permitted,” was hoisted. And when no guard was on duty there simply was no flag, which would make more sense, for a hoisted flag would suggest the presence of a life guard.

Source: personal observation at a beach in Port de Sóller, 23 May 2009

Klaus-Michael Schneider, 14 Jun 2009

Ecoplayas Flags

The IX Beaches' Congress and Exhibition ("Congreso y Exposición Internacional de Playa") took place in El Puerto on 3-5 October 2007. The congress' organizer, the association "Ategrus" (Asociación Técnica para la Gestión de Residuos, Aseo Urbano y Medio Ambiente – "Technical Association for the Management of Waste, Urban and Environment Cleanliness"), has released the list of the beaches that were granted the Ecoplayas flag.

"El Diario Bahía de Cádiz" reports that the flag was granted to Valdelagrana and Levante. A colour photography shows the Ecoplayas flag: divided by a rainbow emerging from the upper left corner and ending in the bottom of the flag, but not in the upper right corner, which shows the "Ategrus" logotype. The Ecoplayas logotype is placed in upper right corner, while the year, here 2007, is placed in the center of the bottom part of the flag.

See also the flag granted to Gandia, and the Ecoplayas website.

Source: El Diario Bahía de Cádiz

Ivan Sache, 08 Oct 2006

Jellyfish Warning Flags

Pattern 1

[Jellyfish Warning Flag (Spain)]
White/Purple Version
[Jellyfish Warning Flag (Spain)]
Yellow/Black Version
[Jellyfish Warning Flag (Spain)]
Red/White Version
images by Ivan Sache, 26 Jun 2009

Starting 1 July, the presence of jellyfish in the waters near Catalan beaches will be signaled by a specific flag. The flag, white with two jellyfish, will be flown along with a yellow (bathing dangerous) or red (bathing forbidden) flag. This was announced by the Red Cross, according to RedAragon. "El Periódico" shows the hoisting of this flag, together with the yellow flag, on the beach of Barceloneta.

Sources: RedAragon, 17 Jun 2006; El Periódico, 21 Aug 2007

Ivan Sache, 19 Jun 2006 and 08 Sep 2007

The use of this flag, reported for the first time in Catalonia (June 2006) has spread to other regions, such as the Valencian Community (officiall prescribed, August 2006), Andalucia (sighting, July 2007) and Balearic Islands (officially prescribed 26 May 2009).

The flag is sold by the Internet-based flag shop "," also showing images of the same flag in different colours (red with white jellyfishes; yellow with with black jellyfishes). Most sources give the colour of the jellyfishes on the "standard flag" as "cyan magenta."

In "Atlántico Diario," 24 June 2009, the flag used on Galician beaches is indeed described as "yellow with a jellyfish," but no image is provided.

Pattern 2

The Canary Islands use a different jellyfish warning flag, "a red triangular flag with two black jellyfishes surrounded by a white circle."

Pattern 3

On a photo taken on 28 February 2008 in Las Canteras, Gran Canaria, the white disk bears the writing "AGUAVIVAS" (jellyfishes) and the jellyfishes are placed on a yellow lozenge.

Ivan Sache, 26 Jun 2009