Beach and Sea Safety in Cyprus
Information on safety in the sea in Cyprus, including water quality, access for people with disabilities and the risks related to swimming...
Cyprus has more than 650 Km of coastline with sandy beaches and warm sea, comfortable for swimming from early May to October.
Safe swimming areas are marked by red buoys, which indicate the areas where speed-boats and any other floating craft are not allowed to enter. Some beaches also have trained lifeguards in attendance during summer; swimmers must adhere to the lifeguard's instructions at all times.
The Cyprus Life Saving Federation (CLSF) (part of the International Life Saving Federation, ILSF) has some trained beach monitors and larger beach resorts have municipal beach inspectors.
Some supervised beaches in Cyprus have a system of coloured flags to let the public know about the swimming conditions (be aware that the flags are not always attended to).
The flag colour code is:
|Safety in the Water|
|Green||Safe to swim|
|Yellow||Swimming dangerous. Swim at own risk|
|All emergencies||Tel: 112|
|RCC Rescue Coordination Centre (air/sea rescue)||Tel: 1441|
Beaches in Cyprus
Agia Napa area has silvery, sandy beaches with many sea sports available, such as windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, and scuba-diving. Detailed information about beaches in this area can be found on Cyprus.com.
Limassol has beaches with coarse, dark coloured sand and pebbles. Detailed information about Limassol beaches can be found on Cyprus.com.
Larnaca Bay has miles of large, safe, sandy beaches. Read more on Larnaca Bay beaches.
Protaras area has golden, sandy beaches equipped with sport facilities.
Paphos area has a mixture of beaches with dark coloured sand and pebbles.
Blue flag beaches
The Blue Flag is an eco-label award for beaches with good practices in terms of water quality, environmental management, safety & services and environmental education. It was introduced in France in 1985 under the name "Pavillon Bleu" and is now used in 41 countries across the world.
- The Blue Flag website has a list of Blue Flag beaches in Cyprus
Cyprus beaches with access for disabled people
Cyprus has some beaches dedicated to people with disabilities and impaired mobility. Wheelchair ramps are normally removed during winter season.
- The Blue Flag website has a list of beaches accessible for disabled people
Safety in the Sun and Sea
Being aware of the dangers related to swimming in the sea can help to avoid accidents. Children must be supervised at all times. Most frequent dangers include:
- Water current can be really strong
- Wind movements causing big waves. Waves normally move from sea to land during the day and from land to sea during the night
- Choose to swim where other people are swimming
In some cases - when the temperature difference between the water and the air is great - jumping quickly into the sea can cause hypothermia. The symptoms include shivering, dizziness and sight problems, a sensation of ringing ears, a sudden sensation of fever, itching, cramp, and head ache.
If this happens, get out of the water quickly, dry off, wrap up in clothes or dry towels and rest in the shade until the symptoms pass.
Sunstroke can occur if exposed to the sun and the heat for too long. Children are particularly sensitive. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, stiff neck, fever. In a severe case, vomiting and unconsciousness can occur. Treatment involves rehydration with water and salts, and cooling the body gently. Lie down in a well-ventilated place in the shade, ideally covered by a damp sheet, drink water without ice and take an aspirin.
Wearing a hat and drinking water regularly can prevent sunstroke.
If stung by a jellyfish, rinse the sting with sea water, not fresh water. Vinegar, wine, alcohol or human urine (from a man) inactivates the nematocysts (stinging units). Tentacles should be removed, preferably lifted off the skin with, for example, a credit card. If stung in the face, rinse the eyes immediately and contact a doctor.
Sea-urchins are very common in the waters around Cyprus, in particular in rocky places, and it is advisable to wear foot protection when going in the water. The spines of a sea-urchin can puncture the skin and go into the foot. This can cause swelling and infection. The spines break easily and are difficult to remove. To relieve pain, soak in very hot water, then visit a doctor to have the needles removed.
The weaver fish has a dorsal fin of poisonous spines. During the day it settles just beneath the sand of the seabed with its fin pointing upwards; it is easy to tread on. If this happens, soak the foot in hot water to relieve pain.
- Wikipedia has more information on weaver fish
- The European Environment Agency on State of Bathing Water
- Cyprus Blue Flag beaches accessible for disabled people