Monday, February 16, 2009

Surfing not banned in Umm Suqeim Beaches; But safety of swimmers paramount

Dubai, 17 February 2009: Dubai Municipality has clarified that it has not banned surfing in Umm Suqeim Beaches but has only demarcated an area exclusively for swimmers whereas surfers can use others areas.

"This move comes taking into consideration the safety of a large number of swimmers who flock to this particular beach most of the day throughout the year. This doesn't mean that surfers are not allowed there. They can use areas beyond the demarcated area and other parts of the beach," said Alya Al Harmoudi, Head of Coastal Zone Management and Waterways Section at the Environment Department of Dubai Municipality.

She noted that reports published in a section of the press during the past two days regarding the ban on surfing are not true. One of the visitors was fined because he was not abiding by the rules and regulations specified for the use of the beach.

"Safety of beach users is paramount to Dubai Municipality. We've now demarcated this area for swimmers and are now studying the prospect of doing the same for surfers as well taking into consideration the waves and swell," Al Harmoudi said.

She added that Dubai Municipality welcomes comments from the public and they can use the website: to share their ideas and suggestions in this regard.

"We will study them carefully for feasibility and to ensure the safety of all beach-users," she noted.

Al Harmoudi, however, pointed out that any type of professional training or commercial activity will not be allowed on the beaches unless the individuals or companies concerned have obtained the necessary permission to do so from the Coastal Zone Management and Waterways Section.

The swimming area in Umm Suqeim 2 beach has been clearly marked using buoys. The area, which stretches from the Fishing Harbour along the Beach to the Jumeira Beach Hotel, was identified after considering its depth that suits the swimmers, she noted.

She urged all beach goers to be caution while swimming in the beaches and take the necessary precaution especially at the time of drastic weather changes and to abide by the safety instructions before venturing into the sea.

"People should also avoid swimming very close to the breakwaters and other structures on the beaches as the water current could be much stronger and this would endanger the lives of the swimmers. They should not also swim in the beaches during the prohibited times like night hours and when the sea is rough."

The website provides real-time coastal data and information for the beach-goers as part of an integrated coastal zone monitoring programme run by the Dubai Municipality.

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