With World Environmental Day and World Oceans Day fast approaching, it is appropriate that we congratulate all of the members who have been awarded the Blue Flag for one more year. These include both Marina Punat (Croatia) and Kos Marina (Greece), close to all of the French marinas, two thirds of Spanish and Portuguese members and every single one of our colleagues in the Netherlands!  Over the next couple of weeks, municipal award ceremonies will recognise the hard work put in by marina staff to achieve this goal.

The Blue Flag scheme is now promoted in 49 different countries worldwide, making in an almost universally recognised symbol. It covers many areas of responsibility within the day-to-day running of a yacht harbour, including safety and service facilities, maintaining water quality and environmental management.

Like all respected marina management accolades, the Blue Flag requires a significant amount of dedication with fresh criteria added yearly and differing annual themes that call on reviewing the facility from a new focal perspective – such as how disabled visitors can enjoy the services offered and move around freely in wheelchairs. In recognition of the role that a marina can play in its local community, the Blue Flag encourages a proactive position, requiring the applicant to organise a minimum of three environmental education activities each year.

Regional development of the scheme has lead to the inclusion of new, related projects. Spain for example promotes Senderos Azules (Blue Pathways) and Blue Flag Centres. The Senderos Azules link Blue Flag awarded facilities – such as a beach and a marina, encouraging different localities to work together to manage coastal pathways, ensuring the use of information panels and good facilities at either end. Learn more about the Blue Flag via their website: www.blueflag.global