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Bangor Marina and six borough beaches receive prestigious Beach and Marina Awards 2021

Bangor Marina on a sunny day showing the boats moored in. Cloughey beach and Helen's Bay beach.

Date: Wednesday 2 June 2021

Copyright - Northern Ireland celebrates success at 2021 Beach and Marina Awards by David McCann, full article can be found at Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful website. | You can watch the Award Ceremony on Youtube - Beach and Marina Awards Ceremony watch now

Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is delighted to announce that 26 beaches and marinas across the country have achieved standards of excellence at their annual Beach and Marina Awards. The focus of this years’ event is to celebrate Northern Ireland’s stunning array of blue spaces and raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy marine environment and the positive connection between the outdoors and our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Beach and Marina Awards are internationally recognised awards that highlight how Northern Ireland’s blue spaces are something to take pride in, look after and enjoy; with the awards also giving an opportunity to celebrate those key workers who maintain our local beaches and marinas to such high standards.

The internationally renowned Blue Flag will be flown at eight of Northern Ireland’s beaches and six marinas during the 2021 season. The Blue Flag award is certified by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and has 49 participating countries globally. Northern Ireland’s 14 blue space locations will join the 4,820 beaches, marinas or boats that proudly fly the Blue Flag around the world. Beach and marina operators receiving a Blue Flag are demonstrating their commitment to protecting the coastal environment, excellent water quality, water safety, and providing access for all, along with providing engaging educational activities on-site.

The Seaside Award and Green Coast Award are national standards for beaches in Northern Ireland, these programmes ensure visitors of a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed beach with the facilities provided being appropriate for the location of the beach. One beach has received the Green Coast Award and eleven beaches have received the Seaside Award in 2021.

The Award Flags may only be flown if all the criteria are successfully met at time of application, with standards maintained throughout the entirety of the bathing season.

Northern Ireland’s coastline has numerous iconic sights, and many of our award-winning beaches include, or are next to, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with specially protected habitats and species forming a large part of the experience visitors enjoy. The aim of these award programmes is to improve the connection between people and their surroundings by encouraging them to spend time in and learn more about their coastal environment. Many award-winning beaches and marinas provide information points to showcase the best of Northern Ireland’s wildlife and provide visitors with information on how they can enjoy these natural wonders without disturbing or damaging them.

Information on the award-winning blue spaces can be found at Beach NI website or Live Here Love Here App 

Ian Humphreys, Chief Executive of Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, said “The past year has restricted our ability to travel and meet people. Yet, we are fortunate to have such great local blue spaces right on our doorstep. All of us can be rightly proud of this beautiful place we call home. Behind every one of these special places are dedicated key workers whose effort all year round keeps these blue spaces in such excellent condition. These awards are a small way of saying thank you and recognising that we have so much to be proud of in our community”.

List of awards in Ards and North Down 

Seaside Award
Ballywalter Beach
Groomsport Beach
Millisle Beach
Cloughey Beach

Boatfolk Marinas

Blue Flag
Bangor Marina

Operated by Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Seaside Award
Crawfordsburn Beach

Green Coast Award
Helen’s Bay Beach