One of the main values of the Blue Flag all over the world is that the beach belongs to all of us and as such should be accessible to all. For making this happening we need to make sure our beaches will include parking for disables, ramps that lead to a concreted floored shade and of course accessible toilets and showers. This could help the disabled persons to enjoy the beach area.
But what about bathing in the water? For that, there are several solutions like the amphibian wheel chairs – a specially designed wheel chair that not only can be easily pushed on a sandy beach but also can float in the water letting the disabled person have a long deep. These chairs are usually located at the lifesavers station or at the infirmary.
The problem is that many people do not even know about this initiative. Two Blue Flag municipalities in Israel: Ashdod and Netanya decided to dedicate events that will expose the public to this opportunity.
In Ashdod, disabled people are welcomed to the beach where lifesavers, beach workers and volunteers from marine sports clubs gathered to get in and experience the sea. The word of these events went a very long way that last bathing season a group of people from Kibbutz Yaron (more than 200km distance) came to feel the sea.
Mr. Arie Torgeman, manager of Ashdod beach department is very proud of this project and emphasized the big part played by the beach volunteers from the near surfing club.
In Netanya, a big event with more than 40 participants from a local disabled persons club took place in September. Among the participants, some people did not bath in the sea for 40 years. The smile on their faces said it all. As one of the volunteers said: "I think that today, I received more that I was trying to give"
These events serve on many different levels: the exposure of the existence of amphibian wheel chairs to the public, the feel of satisfaction the beach workers and volunteers get and mostly important: the happiness of the people that can be equal not only on land but in the water as well.
(Pictures from local press reporting about these events)