With the recent smoking ban being discussed by Andalucía’s regional government, many of our holiday maker’s normal beach habits also fall foul of the province’s laws regarding beach safety and conduct.
Whilst the majority of town halls will turn a blind eye on some minor infractions, some actions can come with fines of thousands of euros.
Firstly the showers placed near public beaches are solely to be used for rinsing sand and salty residue off your body, however some people use these facilities to have a shower using gels and soaps. This is strictly prohibited and can come with a fine of up to €3000. This also includes the washing of cooking utensils and the use of detergents.
One of the more annoying beach habits that is actually a fineable offence is listening to music without headphones. It is prohibited to connect a music player to a speaker, radio or mobile.
If you have children please make sure they are considerate when playing racquet ball games or football. Local laws stipulate that to play these you have to more than six metres away from the nearest bather and must be played with consideration to others. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine.
This one should also be a no brainer, but public urination and defecation on the beach is absolutely prohibited and can carry a fine of up to €3000. If you do get caught short there are plenty of beach bars and chiringuitos that can accommodate you.
Another obvious yet completely overlooked infraction is the use of public bins and taking your rubbish home. At the moment if you are caught leaving any type of litter on the beach it is considered a mild offence, however local environmental groups are campaigning to bring in heavier fines for those responsible.
The lighting of fires and the use of flammable liquids and accelerants is forbidden on all public beaches and beachside campsites. Except for very specific circumstances for example during ferias, lighting a bbq or bonfire on the beach can lead to a large fine and possibly arrest.
The classic holiday move of reserving a sun lounger as soon as the sun rises is also punishable with a fine. Local police monitor the beach areas and remove any items that are deemed to be used to snag a sun lounger.
Fishing is also prohibited however in some municipalities, coastline fishing is allowed outside of bathing times, usually before 10am and after 9pm.
A popular offence that is one of the most dangerous is swimming while the red flag is out. Lifeguards across the province have been petitioning for this to become a criminal offence as it’s the lifeguards lives that are put at risk if they have to enter the water to perform a rescue.
A lot of these actions are general common sense and decency and yet they are so often witnessed on a daily basis on the beaches of Andalucía. Local police are working hard with city councils and local governments to work alongside tourists to provide a safe and clean beach environment.