With the year-end holiday season fast approaching, the Nelson Mandela Bay tourism industry will be bolstered by news of three of its most pristine beaches achieving Blue Flag status.
While the accolade carries the undoubted value of a trusted stamp of approval for high standards of safety and cleanliness – recognised globally – there comes the responsibility of living up to that promise.
It is no small feat that Humewood Beach is one of only two in the country that have consistently ticked the boxes for the past 17 years, but there needs to be consistent and concerted efforts to avoid any potential threat.
And these are sadly increasingly ever present.
Water safety concerns are uppermost in people’s minds when bringing their families on a coastal holiday – especially if they include young children – but we have to be constantly aware that the provision of security extends largely these days to crime prevention.
Kings, Hobie and Humewood beaches are well-rated in both respects – but there have been both violent and petty criminal incidents in the past, albeit isolated, which have jeopardised their reputation.
What should be a particular consideration for municipal authorities, though, is the fact that a large number of the metro’s public pools will be closed this season due to the crippling drought.
This will mean an exponential increase in the number of beach-goers – and the pressure to be extra vigilant.
It behoves the authorities and others who undertake to provide lifeguard duties and other security services to plan for this.
And in this respect, a visible metro police force will go a long way to allay fears this summer season.
We can take great pride in our showpiece beaches – they’re among the best in the land. And that is a fillip for those entrusted with their care.