50 swimmer zones designated, with 7 in Gozo and 3 in Comino
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50 Swimming Zones have been designed by Transport Malta, including 7 in Gozo and in Comino.
These zones, which can be identified by signs installed by the Transport Authority as well as by the fact that they are segregated by buoys, are dedicated to swimmers and boats cannot enter, so people should make use of them for increased safety.
“As summer has begun, the beach and leisure season, it is important to enjoy ourselves responsibly and in a way that does not put us or others in danger,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg while he was launching the second part of the ‘Be Safe at Sea’ campaign, promoting responsible behaviour and safety at sea.
The Authority will be delivering the educational messages of this campaign through several means, including radio and social media as well as through information near these swimming zones, while there will also be a strong presence of enforcement officials at sea, as was done last year, the Minister said.
He explained that last year saw more than 1,000 inspections on sea vessels, which resulted in more than 200 warnings, more than 200 administrative charges, and more than 400 fines, while more than 550 vessels were found to be in good order.
“part from these figures, more than 1,000 additional inspections were carried out on commercial boats in Comino’s Blue Lagoon,” said Minister Borg. Officials at sea will be distributing information during their patrols, he added.
“Enforcement is important, but as always, I stress that each and every one of us should do our best to be responsible for our behaviour, not because of enforcement but because we understand what irresponsibility can lead to” he said.
“I thank Transport Malta workers, especially enforcement officials who work while others are enjoying themselves, and I emphasise once more the importance of being safe at sea. Our life is precious, and we should see to its safety and the safety of the lives of others and take this seriously,” concluded Minister Ian Borg.
Swimmers’ Zones in Gozo are:
Qbajjar, Marsalforn, Ramla l-Hamra, San Blas, Hondoq ir-Rummien, Mgarr ix-Xini and Xlendi.
and in Comino:
Blue Lagoon, San Niklaw and Santa Marija.
The rules for swimmers include:
• “We advise the public to swim in swimming zones, not exceeding the red and yellow buoys.
Swimmers will find relevant information and emergency contacts on a number of boards in these zones.
Among rules for boats:
• Driving a boat of more than 30 HP requires a nautical licence, an insurance certificate and a registration certificate.
• Speed in ports, 300 metres out of sandy beaches and 200 metres out of rocky beaches is limited to 10 knots.
• Speed in marinas and near berths is limited to 3 Knots.
• Every boat should have all necessary safety equipment and someone who will not be on the boat should be told where you plan to go and when you plan to come back.
• What is known as the 1/3 Rule is important – when using a boat make sure that you have enough fuel to go, enough to return and as much as you used to leave in case of emergency.
• Always follow the Notices to Mariners available on the Transport Malta website, while checking the weather forecast.
Photograph by Alain Salvary