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rules regarding swimming in the sea

London
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rules regarding swimming in the sea

Hi,

I was in Puerto de la Cruz today, and decided to go for a swim in the sea. It was just east of the swimming pool complex on a black sand beach, where a few surfers were.

The sea was quite rough (although partially protected by a sea wall), and I didn't notice the red flag, as I approached it from the side. Without appearing immodest, I'm a very strong swimmer, having swim over 6 miles in a rough sea previously, and I'm swimming a 9 mile sea swim later this year. I wasn't in any danger as far as I'm concerned, although I would say it was dangerous for a less competent swimmer.

Anyhow, after 10 minutes swimming, a lifeguard blew his whistle and ordered me to get out. I politely asked him why, and he turned his back on me. After I got changed I tried asking again, and he just pointed to the police behind, as if that explained it!

So my question is, is it actually illegal in Spain to swim in the sea when there is a red flag? Do lifeguards have the authority to order people out of the sea? I always assumed that flags were an indication of the risk, and it was up to the individual to decide.

Thanks for any clarification.

aldershot u.k
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1. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

I don't know about the legalities but it is irresponsible. I say this because children who don't understand might think that if you swim there, that they can. Even Less able Adults might think they are ok.

Ireland, UK
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2. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

Sometimes the red flag can be up for warnings of Portugese man of War Jellyfish in the sea and strong swimmer or not if you get stung by one of these you will be in a lot of pain.

My daughter was stung many years ago on mainland Spain and had to go to hospital plus she was in a lot of pain for two weeks.

I think it's great that the life guards here now raise the red flag for this and I do think its irresponsible of anyone to ignore it ,illegal or not.

Chesterfield...
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3. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

I quite agree. It doesn't matter what the legalities are. It matters that you would be setting a very bad example to other adults and children. The lifeguards are there for a purpose.

If you think your swimming capabilities are such that you know better than the lifeguards, just find a beach to swim from which has no lifeguards and then hope you don't need them.

London
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4. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

Thanks for all your viewpoints. I didn't know about the possibility of jellyfish, although I suspect the red flag was there because of the waves.

I guess your right, I should swim in a section away from the lifeguards next time. But this place was ideal because it was partially protected.

Edited: 04 March 2014, 16:47
London
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5. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

By the way, I should stress I didn't see the red flag today, until I was getting out! It wasn't a conscious decision on my part to defy the law!

However, I'm curious about your opinionsn in general. Should adults ever partake in a potentially risky activity if there is a possibility that other adults might copy them?

Chester
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6. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

Hi Neil,

I have never seen the lifeguards order people out of the water when the red flag has been raised but I have seen them make people come closer to the shore, only last year what looked like a strong swimmer had to be rescued in front of us because the current was too strong for him. Me being a beach bum I have noticed that on Playa Jardin if you stay close to shore and do lengths from the fort across to the rocks the lifeguard does not have a problem, it is only when you go out quite a distance that they get nervous. Next time just come closer to the shore and keep swimming.

Keith.

Chester
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7. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

Hi Neil,

just another thought, the school kids surf in that area so perhaps he wanted you out of the way because it can get quite busy with surf boards when school finishes.

Keith.

Porthcawl, United...
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8. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

Unsure about Tenerife but many areas in Spain you can be fined for swimming when a red flag is flying.

Puerto de la Cruz...
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9. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

There's another issue here. Why should someone else (a lifeguard) have to risk their lives for someone who has ignored warnings? You might be an excellent swimmer Neil but here's a question. How well do you know these waters and the currents? If the answer to that is that you don't then you're not only risking your own safety but that of other people's.

Did you know that a weather alert for had been issued by the Spanish Met Office for wild seas from today? Last year there was a tragic accident with a yacht that put to sea during an alert. These alerts mean that it is more than just rough seas.

Edited: 04 March 2014, 18:07
Tenerife, Spain
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10. Re: rules regarding swimming in the sea

There is a yellow alert today and tomorrow for high seas www.aemet.es/es/eltiempo/prediccion/avisos… I am surprised you could not see them as these are only put in places when the sea is seen as dangerous.

IMO if you wish to take risks then that is your choice however should you get into difficulties then others are also put at risk if they need to rescue you. There is a law here from 2012, where people can receive a fine for emergency services if required as a result of <<<activities that involve risk or danger through failure to observe warning signs, instructions or bans. should they get into difficulty through their own recklessness.<<< These fines carry a max of €6000 but generally they are around €2,500.

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