By: NATASHA SMITH
A TOTAL of 27 beaches across the Algarve will take part in this year’s Healthy Beach Programme throughout the summer.
The initiative, which was launched in 2005 and now operates on 125 beaches throughout Portugal, is sponsored by Vodafone Portugal Foundation.
It is designed to improve safety, environmental beach quality and access for wheelchairs.
A great deal of equipment has been made available for the initiative, including lifesaving equipment and watchtowers. Jet skis and speed boats will be equipped with inflatable stretchers, rafts and lifejackets.
SOS Beaches is a new initiative that forms part of the wider Healthy Beach Programme and strives to improve safety with an alert system and lifesaving support on unguarded beaches.
Greater mobility for the disabled will be a key priority for the programme and beaches will have ramps, and some will be equipped with “amphibian” wheelchairs.
A spokesman for the Vodafone Portugal Foundation told The Resident: “The programme involves the distribution of lifesaving equipment, the development of initiatives and measures for safety, environmental management and education and improved access”.
A mobile communication network will also be set up that can be used by the public, mobile phones will be made available to lifeguards and every participating beach will be allocated a telephone number.
The implementation of the Virtual Private Network will allow communication between the lifeguards, the region’s port authorities, the institute of emergency maritime rescue (ISN), bombeiros and national emergency services.
The programme is supported by the Institute of Water, Institute of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity, National Institute for Rehabilitation and the Blue Flag Association of Europe.
The spokesman for the Vodafone Portugal Foundation said: “We are very proud of what had been achieved so far and we will continue to make the beaches safer for many more years.”
Nearly two million euros has been invested in the programme since 2005 and by
2010, this figure is due to rise to five million euros.
Participating beaches in the
Albufeira: Santa Eulália, Falésia, Praia da Rocha Baixinha-Leste, Praia Rocha Baixinha-Oeste, Maria Luísa, Galé
Aljezur: Odeceixe, Monte Clérigo, Arrifana
Castro Marim: Cabeço
Faro: Faro Mar
Lagoa: Senhora da Rocha
Lagos: Meia Praia, Luz
Portimão: Alvor, Praia da Rocha, Três Irmãos, Três Castelos, Praia do Vau
Tavira: Ilha de Tavira – Mar, Barril, Terra Estreita, Cabana Mar
Vila do Bispo: Salema
Vila Real Sta António: Monte Gordo, Manta Rota
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