Wednesday, 19 July 2023, 10:22
After years of campaigning by Costa Tropical organisations including Amigos del Mar Costa Tropical (AADMCT) and Bahía Tranquila, Almuñécar-La Herradura town hall has introduced a drone to control the use of jet skis and to warn beach-goers of the risk.
The service started last week and will operate between 2 and 8pm from Thursday to Sunday in July and then every day of the week in August. The drone is operated by Aeromedia, which has a similar service in Fuengirola.
For several summers the proliferation of jet skis and the misuse of these watercraft and boats has been a nuisance to bathers, local residents, beach bars and restaurants and companies offering water activities who abide by the regulations.
"The users of jet skis commit offences and with this drone we want to guarantee safety for bathers, so that they comply with the bathing regulations and respect the signage and the functioning of the waterways, so that they do not drive their vehicles around the buoys, among other rules," acknowledged mayor of Almuñécar-La Herradura, Juan José Ruiz Joya.
The drone will also be able to identify any swimmer that might be in danger and contact the emergency services. "This measure, together with the surveillance of our five beaches, will reinforce our safety," the mayor stressed.
The device is equipped with a loudspeaker to warn of non-compliance and has a camera which will capture images, enabling the Local Police to process the complaint and pass it on to the Capitanía Marítima, who will be responsible for processing the corresponding fine.
This new measure will not affect authorised companies that use jet skis, instead it has been introduced to control the vehicles and boats belonging to individuals or companies that operate outside the towns.
The introduction of the drone comes after many years of campaigning by local organisations and individuals as SUR in English reported last summer.
La Herradura-Almunecar environmental association Amigos del Mar launched a campaign in May 2021 in response to the noise pollution and risk from "inconsiderate jet ski drivers" who they said are endangering divers, swimmers and other beach goers, as well as disturbing aquatic life.
The association also argued that the "continuous noise" was affecting thousands of residents and holiday makers who want to enjoy peace in their homes and apartments. One resident said: “We love this place but the noise has become intolerable on weekends with the jet skis racing around for hours.”
By June 2022 one thousand people had signed a petition calling for action against the “increasing nuisance” of jet skis along Granada's Costa Tropical. According to a statement released by Bahía Tranquila, a non-political citizens' platform based in Almuñécar - La Herradura, in May 2023, by then the number of signatures had risen to 2,000.
Following the petition, according to Bahía Tranquila, “The first institution to make a move was the Capitanía Marítima de Motril, which in recognition of the safety threat that jet skis represent for bathers and other users, issued an edict prohibiting these devices from sailing within 300 metres of the beaches.”
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