Jeffrey's Bay’s Dolphin Beach has remained part of a group of elite beaches and top tourist spots around the world by once again securing Blue Flag status.
The Blue Flag went up at a ceremony held on Friday after the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) gave the beach the nod as having met the stringent international criteria needed to acquire the status. Among the requirements are pristine waters, a safe environment for beachgoers and bathers and accessibility for people with disabilities. A notable addition to the features at the beach is the new lifeguard tower, providing lifeguards with a better view of activity in the water. Kouga Social Services Portfolio Councillor Danny Benson said a lot of hard work went into ensuring that Kouga’s main beach met the criteria. “As part of ensuring a safe environment for our beachgoers, we will have nine life guards and four law enforcement officers at Dolphin Beach. “The life guards will work from 8 am till 6pm while the law enforcement officers will be on duty until 10pm,” said Benson. The Blue Flag season runs from 1 November until the end of April next year.
There were messages of support from the Association of People with Disabilities (APD), the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI), Kouga Business Forum and Sarah Baartman District Municipality. All stakeholders pledged their full commitment towards a successful season. APD’s Jakkie Pieters said the beach was one of Kouga’s greatest assets and one of the most accessible beaches in the country for people with disabilities. “This whole success became possible through partnerships with local government and other departments,” he said. Speaking on behalf of the Executive Mayor, Finance Portfolio Councillor Brenton Williams said while the municipality was able to secure the Blue Flag, there were still a number of challenges that the municipality was working to resolve, such as the sewage spills at Pellsrus Beach and people remaining at the beach till late when the lifeguards had already gone home. “We will conduct regular water tests to ensure that our bathers are protected from contaminated water until we solve the problem permanently. “Extra security will be deployed on the beaches to ensure people will be safe when enjoying the facility after the Blue Flag beach closes for the day.
Therefore, we will be deploying law enforcement until 10pm in the evenings so that visitors can make use of the beaches, which remain the primary reason why holiday-makers choose Jeffreys Bay as their holiday destination,” he said. Williams also paid tribute to municipal staff for having made the achievement possible and thanked stakeholders and government departments for playing their different roles in helping.