Boat owners in Wales can now fly the iconic Blue Flag following the launch of a brand-new initiative by Keep Wales Tidy at the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race.

‘Blue Flag for Private Boat Owners’ gives individual boat owners the chance to commit to an international code of conduct and make efforts to minimise pollution, care for the environment and encourage others to change their behaviour.

Cardiff Bay Yacht Club member Andrew Board became the first boat owner in Wales to be presented with a Blue Flag at an exclusive reception marking the 30th anniversary of the Blue Flag programme. After collecting his pennant Blue Flag and certificate, Mr Board commented:

As a keen sailor I’m a very conscious of the issues we face today about pollution of our seas and coastline. The Blue Flag award is important in raising awareness about how we can all contribute to keeping our coastal waters and oceans clean. I’m very pleased to accept this award on behalf of all boat owners in Wales and hope others will follow suit and adopt the Blue Flag code of conduct to the benefit of future generations.

The introduction of the Private Boat Owners category is the latest development for the Blue Flag programme, which recognises marinas and boat tour operators as well as beaches of the highest standard. For three decades, Blue Flag, which is owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), has had a transformational impact on water quality, environmental awareness, protection, safety and services.

Daniel Schaffer, Chief Executive of FEE said:

The Private Boat Owners category within the Blue Flag programme allows the individual leisure boat owner to act responsibly by taking simple and structured steps to reduce the negative effects related to boating activities on the environment. This personal pledge complements and helps increase the positive impact of the Blue Flag programme for marinas, boat tour operators and beaches striving for the highest environmental standard.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy said:

We’re delighted to be launching this exciting new initiative as we celebrate 30 years of Blue Flag in Wales. With mounting concern about the damage that’s being caused to our marine environment, people are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities. The international code of conduct encourages boat owners to think about their current practice and identify areas for improvement.

The Blue Flag is a world renowned eco-label – by flying the Blue Flag, boat owners can demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and become part of a global network.

In May, Keep Wales Tidy announced 47 Blue Flags sites, including three award-winning marinas and one boat tour operator, meaning Wales once again has more Blue Flags per mile than anywhere else in the UK.

The Volvo Ocean Race reception received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Click here for more information, or to apply for the Blue Flag for Private Boat Owners.

Gall perchnogion cychod hedfan y Faner Las eiconig nawr

(Andrew Board)