Fuengirola's barbecue boats remain popular. G.P.
Fuengirola's 'barbecue boats', located on the beach near the Sohail Castle are being hailed "an ongoing success" after it was revealed this week that more than 18,000 people have used them so far this summer, according to the Town Hall.
The ten metallic boats, which have been converted into public barbecues, and which can be used by two groups of people simultaneously, were installed in 2008 and have become one of the town's most popular places for friends and families to meet.
There are two daily time slots, 9 a.m to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m to 9 a.m, and to date this year, 910 authorisations have been issued by the Local Police, who manage the applications to hold barbecues.
In 2011, a total of 2,758 permits were granted, according to official figures.
"These boats don't exist in other municipalities and have become emblems of Fuengirola.
"Every day a total of 40 people can make use of these barbecues," said Councillor for Beaches, Isabel Moreno in a statement this week.
She added: "There is only one area where it is permitted to have a barbecue, or any kind of fire, on the beach in Fuengirola, and it is here in the where the boats are. "
Applications for permits are made by presenting photocopies of photographic identification of two people who will be part of the same party and who will be responsible for the barbecue.
Foreign residents, says the Town Hall, will also need to take with them their residency certificate and proof that there are registered on the municipal census when they apply.
There is also a "symbolic payment" of five euros per application.
German-born Julianne Haase was one of the dozens of people who attended a barbecue last weekend. She tells SUR in English: "Some Spanish friends of my boyfriend and I invited us along to a beach party and although we've seen these 'boats' before, we'd never used them and it was really great fun.
"When there's a lovely beach, good company and a barbecue there's an instant party! It's such a cool idea.
"Of course, with other people barbecuing in the same area, we all made friends with everyone else as people were borrowing things and exchanging food. I hope we can do it again soon.
"I think it would be great if there were more of these metal boats as it seems a really popular concept."
Antonio Moreno, who invited Julianne and her partner, comments: "Everyone likes a barbecue on the beach, don't they? Before it was banned, when more and more regulations starting being enforced, lots of people used to do it.
"And I think now more than ever it is popular as it's a cheap way of having a great time. Most people nowadays, whether they live here or are here on holiday, can't afford to go to restaurants as often as they used to."