Yellow flag on a beach in Malaga. Migue Fernández
What do the new geometric symbols on some beach warning flags in Spain mean?
Beach safety

What do the new geometric symbols on some beach warning flags in Spain mean?

The flags keep the same green, yellow and red colours we're all used to seeing, but incorporate triangles and lines - and this is why...

Raquel Merino


Tuesday, 15 August 2023, 16:53


Some bathers, looking up at the lifeguard's watch towers this summer, might have noticed a slightly different flag flying to the usual ones. Most beachgoers would be familiar with the green flag (swimming permitted), yellow (swimming permitted with caution) and red (swimming prohibited); or the white flag with a jellyfish, which warns people about the presence of these invertebrates in the water.

But you may find it strange to see flags flying on some beaches with different geometric symbols this summer.

A few days ago, some users of the Infomedusas application speculated over what the green flag, with a diagonal line next to a triangle, both in black, on one of the beaches off the coast of Malaga meant.

These are flags that incorporate the ColorADD code, a universal language that enables the colour blind to identify colours. The ColorADD code is based on five graphic symbols, corresponding to the three primary colours (yellow, red and blue), plus black and white, the combination of which represents a wide range of different colours and shades.

A triangle pointing to the right (at the bottom of the flag) together with a diagonal line in the centre represents green; a single diagonal line in the centre signifies yellow; and a triangle pointing to the left at the top of the flag symbolises red.

The beach flags retain the green, yellow or red colour, but incorporate these symbols, so that colour-blind people can interpret them and understand the state of the sea.

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