Blue Flag

Blue Flag in Central Elgin

blue flag

The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to beaches meeting certain environmental criteria. More than 2,600 beaches and marinas across Europe, South Africa, Canada and the Caribbean have been given a Blue Flag designation.

Environmental Defence is the Canadian National Operator of the Blue Flag Program and is responsible for developing Canadian Blue Flag Criteria, assessing beaches for Blue Flag status, and promoting the benefits of achieving Blue Flag certification. All Blue Flag National Operators are members of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).


Main Beach in Port Stanley is a Blue Flag Beach - the only beach on Lake Erie with this quality designation.

In order to receive a Blue Flag, Main Beach must meet the following 29 Blue Flag criteria (2 of which are not applicable in Canada) covering all aspects of environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety and services:

Environmental Education and Information:

  • Information relating to coastal zone ecosystems and natural, sensitive areas in the coastal zone must be displayed (I)
  • Information about bathing water quality must be displayed (I)
  • Information about the Blue Flag Programme must be displayed (I)
  • Code of conduct for the beach area must be displayed and the laws governing beach use must be easily available to the public upon request (I)
  • A minimum of 5 environmental education activities must be offered (I)

Water Quality:

  • Compliance with the requirements and standards for excellent bathing water quality (I)
  • No industrial or sewage related discharges may affect the beach area (I)
  • Monitoring on the health of coral reefs located in the vicinity of the beach (I) Caribbean, Brazil, South and East Africa; Not applicable - Europe, Morocco, Canada, Chile)
  • Compliance of the community with requirements for sewage treatment and effluent quality (G)
  • Algae or other vegetation should be left to decay on the beach unless it constitutes a nuisance (I)

Environmental Management:

  • Beach management committee must be established to be in charge of instituting environmental management systems and conduct regular environmental audits of the beach facility (I - Caribbean, Morocco, Brazil, Chile, South & East Africa, South Pacific; G - Europe and Canada)
  • The beach must comply with all regulations affecting the location and operation of the beach (coastal zone planning and environmental legislation) (I)
  • The beach must be clean (I)
  • Waste disposal bins/receptacles must be available on/by the beach in adequate numbers, regularly maintained and emptied (I)
  • Facilities for receiving recyclable waste materials must be available on/by the beach (I)
  • Adequate and clean sanitary facilities with controlled sewage disposal (I)
  • On the beach there will be no unauthorized camping or driving and no dumping (I)
  • Regulation concerning dogs and other domestic animals on the beach must be strictly enforced (I)
  • All buildings and equipment of the beach must be properly maintained (I)
  • Sustainable means of transportation must be promoted in the beach area (G)

Safety and Services:

  • An adequate number of lifeguards and/or lifesaving equipment must be available at the beach (I)
  • First aid equipment must be available on the beach (I)
  • There must be management of different users and uses of the beach so as to prevent conflicts and accidents (I)
  • An emergency plans to cope with pollution safety risks must be in place (I)
  • There must be safe access to the beach (I)
  • The beach area must be patrolled (G - South & East Africa, Brazil, Chile, South Pacific, Morocco; Not applicable - Europe and Canada)
  • A supply of potable drinking water must be available on the beach (G)
  • A minimum of one Blue Flag beach in each municipality must have access and toilet facilities provided for disabled persons (I)
  • Map of the beach indicating different facilities must be displayed (I)

blue flag logoFor more information about the Blue Flag program, visit the web site at

For more information about beach water quality and what you can do to help, click here.


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