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by Staff Reporter
COASTAL town councils in the Balearics have six months in which to draw up a complete catalogue of their beaches and bathing areas, 327 in all, classifying them according to the degree of danger they present.

This catalogue will then be used for planning rescue work, lifeguards, safety and first aid equipment and the minimum attention required to ensure the safety of users.

The catalogue is one of the requirements of a law approved by the Balearic government, at the proposal of the ministry of the environment, regulating the minimum safety and precaution measures for local beaches and bathing areas.

Experts from the ministries of tourism, environment, interior and health have spent a year working in close collaboration with the tourist resort councils for the past year in order to draw up the law, which will now be debated in Parliament.

Under the new law, the councils must catalogue the beaches in their municipality according to three degrees of risk: low, medium and high, by applying criteria such as the number of people who use it at peak periods, the usual state of the sea, the physical characteristics of the beach and the sporting and leisure activities practiced there.

Low risk beachs should have an emergency and evacuation procedure, as well as a protocol which will mobilise the human and material resources needed in an emergency.

Medium and high risk beaches must have a beach rescue plan which should be approved by the council.
The law also requires all beaches to have announcement boards detailing specific information such as a description of the beach, the bathing area which is supervised, flags and their meaning, the situation of lifeguard and first aid posts, the seasons and times of the public rescue service or the situation of the nearest pay phone, among other details.

Beaches with medium and high risk, used by both bathers and boat owners, should have a specific system of buoys defining the supervised bathing area.
The law also specifies that its public rescue service should be manned by a supervisor and water-activity lifeguards.
Balearic beaches are generally considered safe, but the government is constantly updating safety conditions, particularly those aimed at preventing deaths by drowning.

Many of the beaches already comply with most of the requisites of the new law.