Just before the summer season kicks off, the Ministry of Interior has earmarked a substantial sum of 15 million euros to subsidize municipalities nationwide for lifeguard services on both organized and unorganized beaches to increase beach safety.

Under the directive of Deputy Minister Theodoros Livanios, the subsidy for 129 municipalities has been approved, a significant increase of 5 million euros compared to the previous year.

Notably, Zakynthos municipality in the Ionian Sea tops the list in terms of funding allocation for beach coverage, closely followed by Sithonia in Halkidiki in northern Greece and Hersonissos in Heraklion of Crete. Meanwhile, the municipality of Marathon in Attica is set to receive the largest subsidy in the region.

With funding secured, municipalities have swiftly initiated the tendering process for lifeguard services along their respective coastlines. However, the task is not without its challenges, as highlighted by Mayor Paraskevas Papageorgiou of Eastern Samos in the Aegean Sea.

Despite budget allocations, municipalities often struggle to attract qualified individuals to fulfill lifeguard roles, posing potential gaps in beach safety.

On islands such as Skiathos in the Sporades region of the Aegean, Mayor Theodoros Tzoumas sheds light on the intricacies of managing lifeguard services amidst stringent regulatory frameworks. Conducting an international tender for the third consecutive year, the municipality faces rigorous procedures and substantial financial commitments.

Despite receiving increased funding from the Ministry of Interior, municipalities face difficulties meeting legislative requirements, as echoed by Mayor Stefanos Poulimenos of Central Corfu and Diapontian Islands, located northwest of Corfu.

Mayor Ioannis Lentzas of Andravida-Kyllini (Killini), in the western region of the country, emphasizes the financial strain faced by municipalities in covering lifeguard expenses. While subsidies provide relief, municipalities are tasked with bridging the remaining gap with limited resources.

In Preveza, on the coastline of western Greece, Mayor Georgakos Nikolaos provides insight into the complex financial dynamics, where revenue from beach businesses partially offsets lifeguard costs.

The safety of beachgoers across Greece’s coastline requires a concerted and multifaceted approach, highlighting the importance of effective resource allocation and regulatory flexibility in safeguarding public welfare during the summer months.