Beach Safety Project

Research project

What do we do?

Beach Safety project is a research project that has the main objective of establishing standards for the management of Lifeguard service on Catalan beaches.

The beaches are an engine for the economic development of the region, and millions of users enjoy each year more than 400 beaches and almost 700 km of coastline that run through Catalonia. From the beaches of LLança on the border with France to the beaches of Alcanar on the border with the province of Valencia.

The research focusses on  each of the 439 Catalan beaches and studies the amount of human and material resources, the budgets allocated by each City Council and the relationship of the service with the variables that affect the beaches.

The project centers on the operation and current organization of beach rescue and lifeguards, in order to advance in the analysis of the relationship of these means with the theoretical objectives of the service.

Beaches of Catalunya

Catalonia has almost 700 km of coastline that are distributed among 69 municipalities from LLança on the border with France to Alcanar on the border with the Valencian community.

The northern part or eastern coast is steep and whitewater, while the northern part or western coast is much flatter and calmer. The beaches have different services among which we find, in the vast majority, the Lifeguard service. This service deploys during the summer season: personnel, boats and different elements for the safety of bathers and users of the more than 400 beaches that make up the Catalan coast.

Beaches conditions

Project scope

Coastal municipalities
M2 of beaches
Km of coastline
Fuente: Direcció General d’Ordenació del Territori i Urbanisme

Main objetive

The main objective of the project is to develop indicators that allow an efficient management dimensioning of the Rescue and Lifeguard Services on beaches. To achieve the objectives, an exhaustive survey of each of the beaches of the Catalan coast will be carried out and the necessary data will be collected to analyse the situation and its relationship with the objective.


Obtain a diagnosis of the current state of the rescue and lifeguard service based on an exhaustive review of each of the beaches.


Create tools, models and indicators that allow beach managers to plan an efficient rescue and lifeguard service, based on data.


Propose improvements based on scientific evidence.

The problem

Beaches are a constantly evolving environment and are affected by many economic, environmental and social dynamics and factors. Does the Lifeguard service respond to current needs?
The Lifeguards service in Catalonia is managed in three different ways:

Uneven evolution of technical requirements

In all cases the services are regulated by means of a technical document, known as the “technical specifications” where the human and material resources, their distribution and the period of service are established.

These many technical specification sheets have practically not changed in the last decade and are designed for the characteristics that the beaches had 10 or 15 years ago.

The beach is a constantly changing environment. The geographical, occupancy and climatic conditions affect the beaches every day, producing changes in the seabed, in currents, and in the distribution of users.

There are beaches that until a few years ago had almost no users, and today they are beaches that have a massive occupation. We also find watchtowers that have been in place for many years and are still used simply because they are there. Other beaches have their own ambulance service, a resource that was useful before the implementation of the services provided by the SEM.

All these questions, together with the evolutionary process of the beaches, generate the following research question:

Does the Lifeguard service respond to current needs?



Evolutions of the beaches
Lifeguard Service

Barcelona accesible beaches

El servicio de baño accesible en las playas de Barcelona incluye una serie de equipamientos para que las personas con diferentes tipos de disfunciones puedan disfrutar de la playa.

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Helicopter medical service (HEMS)

Helicopters are very versatile aircraft that can land almost anywhere that is large enough. In addition, in Catalonia there are 36 certified heliports, facilities that allow you to operate with greater safety.

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Lifeguard service in Catalonia

Currently there is no law that establishes a minimum amount of human or material resources that must be assigned to the beaches and the local authorities allocate more or less resources without clear indicators.

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