It escapes absolutely no one that this is a meteorologically adverse summer in Tarragona and generally on the Costa Daurada. The coexistence between heat waves and episodes of intense rain, like those of the DANA last Thursday, can suspect dangers for the civilian population.
The sea does not escape this climatic instability, as Aleix Font, coordinator of the Red Creu de Tarragona lifeguards, points out, "the variation in maritime pressures has become frequent," he points out, and these develop "strong currents that translate into a very choppy sea and also inaccessible». The data collected by the entity sheds even more light on this phenomenon.
Font teaches us that, "of each and every day that we have been in the lifeguard season, 40% of them have raised the red or yellow flag in the town." As a reference, in the past summer season, these occasions "only occupied 10% of the total". It is true that Font emphasizes that "2022 was a singularly relaxed year", but the data from this beginning of the season would double the average, which is located around 15% or 20%.
Aleix Font (Creu Roja Lifeguard Coordinator): Most of the yellow flags are raised by currents that leave an unbalanced sea
In truth, according to data from Civil Protection, the Costa Daurada has raised 521 yellow flags so far this season, practically half of the 1,349 that have been raised throughout Catalonia. In the town of Tarragona, almost all the red and yellow flags have been raised due to the "deplorable state of the sea", excluding those raised due to electrical storms.
More people and more action
To the maritime instability we should add "a notable increase in bathers in the town." The lifeguard tells us that, "beyond not having computed data, tourism development was seen a lot this year."
Faced with this situation, Creu Roja claims to have "a young, lively and highly aware team." As from year to year, there was a considerable change in lifeguards, but these, "go to the course with a desire to work and high skills." Font teaches that "work practices changed this year", since generally, these were more focused on "prevention work", while at this time, "entries into the water" are gaining weight.
The lifeguard teaches that "these tasks are hard, but they motivate the group", which sees "what they have been prepared for" materialized.
Even with everything, precautionary tasks are vital in summers as complicated as this one. Font teaches us that "many people do not fully understand the dangers of a yellow flag" and keep in mind that "lifeguards have the possibility of assisting by pointing out which areas are much safer in case you want to get wet at the moment you the sea is rougher”.
The lifeguard expresses that "although most people follow an optimal action, there are people who do not comply with the orders." These situations occur when the red flag is hoisted, which prohibits bathing, and certain "do not go beyond the rules of the lifeguards." On these occasions, Font knows that "they are not agents of order" and they have to request accompaniment from the Guàrdia Urbana so that they make the crowd escape from the water.
enlarge the schedule
This summer has tragic consequences throughout the Catalan territory, since, at the gates of August, 17 people lost their lives on the beach, six more than in the same period of time in 2022. Tarragona does not escape this catastrophe and has concentrated 2 of these deaths. The last one happened on July 26, when a young man drowned on the Miracle beach at 7:30 p.m.
At this time, the lifeguards were not free for the moment, since they finish at 7:00 p.m., a fact that has fueled the confrontation over a viable extension of this system. From the municipality they affirm that "they are working on an orderly response that allows them to offer better coverage of today's situation."
The municipality works to suggest an expanded lifeguard service
The neighborhood representatives of the riverside locations are detailed "unconditional to suggest much more hours of lifeguarding." Francesc García, president of the Associació de Veïns de la Mora Tamarit, affirms that “there are people on this beach until 9 pm at night” and “the more supervision there is, the better”.
Josep María Bertran, neighborhood manager of the Vall de l'Arrabassada, expresses himself in similar expressions, who assures that "year after year there are many more people on the beaches and as long as there is light they continue to bathe." In addition to this, he points out that "with the high temperatures the crowd prevents the central hours and in the afternoon the influx increases." Bertran also highlights the "inconvenience of incivility along the red flags" and requests "greater coordination with the Urban Guard."
Tarragona's schedule, which in high season is established from 10am to 7pm, is not far enough from cities with a similar influx. However, in Barcelona it is wide and extensive until 7:30 p.m., while in Salou it is free until 8:00 p.m., a timetable distributed by other Spanish town halls with enormous tourist activity.
It should be noted that, outside of supervisory hours, 112 can coordinate different rescue teams for occasions of danger, such as the SEM, firefighters, the Civil Guard, Red Creu, Maritime Rescue or the Urban Guard.
In fact, Salvamento Marítimo has a ship called Salvamar docked in the Port of Tarragona. This travels only in urgent cases and it would take between 15 and 20 minutes to get from the Port to La Mora.
Civil Protection Tips for a safe bathroom
From Civil Protection they remember that "it is a requirement to always and at all times follow the rules of the lifeguards and local authorities", such as being aware "of your skills and not exceeding them".
It is essential to understand your condition and not bathe if you feel bad, or leave immediately if it happens to you in the water. In addition, it is necessary to "avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages before bathing."
The immersions must be gradual, "especially if the water is cold or you have been in the sun for a while." These must be avoided before the digestion has finished. All trying to "be aware of current locations and stony concentrations to avoid them."